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THESIS 



THE CLOSE ABOARD BASTION: 
A SOVIET BALLISTIC MISSILE 
SUBMARINE DEPLOYMENT STRATEGY 

by 

Walter M. Kreitler 

September 19 8 8 



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Jan S . Breemer 



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Me'cLOSE S S0ApS S 'bAS°TI0N: A SOVIET BALLISTIC MISSILE SUBMARINE DEPLOYMENT 
STRATEGY 



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Bastions; Anti-Submarine Warfare 



9 ABSTRACT (Continue on reverse if necessary and identify by block number) 

This thesis describes and analyzes a possible deployment posture for the 
Soviet ballistic missile submarine force. It examines the proposition that 
the Soviet Navy will establish a point defense, labeled "Close Aboard 
Bastions" (CABs) , for its ballistic missile submarine fleet within the 
Soviet claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea. This is a logical 
derivation of the currently widely held view that the Soviets will establish 
a "bastion" defense for the strategic portion of their seagoing forces. The 
thesis concludes that the postulated CAB strategy _ is a viable option for 
the Soviet Union during a war that begins conventionally. 



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The Close Aboard Bastion: 

A Soviet Ballistic Missile 

Submarine Deployment Strategy 

by 

Walter M. Kreitler 

Lieutenant, United States Navy 

B.A. , Virginia Military Institute, 1980 



Submitted in partial fulfillment of the 
requirements for the degree of 



MASTER OF ARTS IN NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS 



from the 

NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL 
September 1988 



ABSTRACT 

This thesis describes and analyzes a possible deployment 
posture for the Soviet ballistic missile submarine force. 
It examines the proposition that the Soviet Navy will estab- 
lish a point defense, labeled "Close Aboard Bastions" 
(CABs) , for its ballistic missile submarine fleet within the 
Soviet claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea. This is a 
logical derivation of the currently widely held view that 
the Soviets will establish a "bastion" defense for the 
strategic portion of their seagoing forces. The thesis 
concludes that the postulated CAB strategy is a viable 
option for the Soviet Union during a war that begins 
conventionally. 



111 






TABLE OF CONTENTS 

I. INTRODUCTION 1 

A. PURPOSE 1 

B. METHODOLOGY 1 

C. ORGANIZATION 2 

II. SOVIET BALLISTIC MISSILE SUBMARINE STRATEGY 4 

A. INTRODUCTION 4 

B. EVOLUTION OF WEAPONS SYSTEMS 5 

C. DEVELOPMENT OF A WITHHOLDING STRATEGY: 

THE BASTIONS 12 

D. THE ORIGINS OF THE WITHHOLDING STRATEGY 13 

E. MANIFESTATION OF WITHHOLDING: THE 

BASTION THEORY 15 

F. BASTION EXERCISES AND OPERATIONS 2 3 

G. CONCLUSIONS 28 

III. THE CLOSE ABOARD BASTION CONCEPT 32 

A. INTRODUCTION 32 

B. TACTICAL MILITARY ADVANTAGES OF THE CAB 3 3 

C. MECHANICS OF CAB DEFENSES 39 

D. STRATEGIC ADVANTAGES OF THE CAB 51 

IV. LEGAL AND POLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS TO THE 

CAB CONCEPT 60 

A. INTRODUCTION ' 60 

B. THE LAW OF THE SEA AND SOVIET NAVAL POLICY — 61 

C. POLITICAL ADVANTAGES OF A CAB STRATEGY 74 



IV 



MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA 9594; 

V. DISADVANTAGES OF THE CAB POSTURE 80 

A. INTRODUCTION 80 

B. POLITICAL DISADVANTAGES OF THE CAB 94 

C. CONCLUSIONS 94 

VI. CONCLUSIONS 96 

A. SUMMARY 96 

BIBLIOGRAPHY * 100 

INITIAL DISTRIBUTION LIST 105 



THESIS DISCLAIMER 

The views and judgments presented in this thesis are 
those solely of the author. They do not necessarily reflect 
official positions held by the Naval Postgraduate School, 
the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, or 
any other U.S. government agency or organization. No 
citation of this work may include references or attributions 
to any official U.S. government source. 



VI 



I. INTRODUCTION 

A. PURPOSE 

This thesis examines the proposition that the Soviet 
fleet will establish a point defense for its ballistic 
missile submarine fleet within the Soviet claimed 12 
nautical mile territorial sea. This is a logical derivation 
of the currently widely held view that the Soviets will 
establish a "bastion" defense for the ballistic missile 
submarine portion of their naval forces. This research 
effort focuses on what may be seen as a "planned 
progression" of the Soviet Bastion Concept, the tightening 
of the bastion position, and the subsequent freeing up of 
conventional general purpose forces for other missions. 

B . METHODOLOGY 

The three basic methods of research employed in 
examining this question are: (1) hardware analysis, (2) 
literature content analysis, and (3) trend extrapolation. 
All research and data were derived from unclassified 
sources. Earlier analyses by various specialists on the 
subject at hand are reviewed and examined to help define 
postulated Soviet SSBN defensive concepts. The term chosen 
to represent this deployment scheme is the "Close Aboard 
Bastion" (CAB) . 



C. ORGANIZATION 

Although the primary thrust of this thesis is a 
discussion of the CAB concept, an introductory discussion of 
the evolution of Soviet military strategy, and nuclear 
strategy in particular, is necessary. Chapter II discusses 
the development of Soviet SSBN operations and doctrine since 
the 1960s, including the evaluation of the current (1988) 
Western estimate of Soviet SSBN capabilities and intentions, 
popularly known as the "bastion" concept. 

Chapter III examines the evidence in support of the CAB 
construct in terms of military strategy, political control, 
international legal implications and Western anti-submarine 
warfare (ASW) capabilities and constraints. Chapter III 
argues the logic of the CAB as a plausible evolution in a 
thoroughly integrated Soviet nuclear strategy. 

Chapter IV examines the potential pitfalls and risks of 
a Soviet CAB deployment strategy. The ability of Western 
forces to penetrate these defensive positions, the limited 
maneuver area for SSBNs positioned close along the Soviet 
coast and the CAB's potential vulnerability to Western 
strategic counterbattery fire, are problems addressed. 

Chapter V discusses the possible ramifications of the 
CAB strategy for the future in context of the future 
Strategic Arms Reduction Talks [START] regime. In addition, 
the future role of the Soviet SSBN force is discussed in the 



framework of the CAB concept. Implications for escalation 
control and the U.S. maritime strategy are also reviewed. 

Chapter VI provides a summary and conclusion. In 
addition, possible areas are identified which in the future 
may provide some further evidence supporting the existence 
of the CAB. To place the SSBN force strategy and doctrine 
in perspective, the larger military and political goals are 
summed in relation to support of the CAB concept. 



II. SOVIET BALLISTIC MISSILE SUBMARINE STRATEGY 

A. INTRODUCTION 

Soviet military, including nuclear strategy, has evolved 
in a distinctly different way from that of the United 
States. The evolution of the Soviet Union's fleet of 
nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) 
provides a clear example of this difference. In both 
weapons design and deployment, the Soviet force has 
displayed a logical progression toward a specific end: 
namely the creation of a secure strategic reserve, withheld 
physically and operationally to provide intrawar deterrence. 

It is the purpose of this section to examine two major 
facets of the evolution of the Soviet SSBN force. First, 
first considered is the evolution of basic "hardware 
capabilities," from the Yankee class SSBN and the SS-N-6 
submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) to the latest 
Soviet SSBN, the Typhoon and the SS-N-2 SLBM. Next 
considered is the evolution of the Soviet SSBN fleet's 
withholding strategy. By examining these two developments 
the next stage of Soviet SSBN evolution can become clear, 
namely the proposition that the Soviet Union will conduct 
SSBN withholding operations within the coastal waters of the 
Soviet Union. 



B. EVOLUTION OF WEAPONS SYSTEMS 

1. The Yankee Class Submarine 

The Yankee class SSBN, introduced operationally in 

1968, was the natural evolution of earlier Soviet ballistic 

missile designs, notably the nuclear-powered Hotel, and 

diesel-driven Golf classes. Two key advantages of the 

Yankee over its predecessors were a very much larger SLBM 

loadout (16 versus three weapons) and the ability to launch 

from a submerged condition. 1 The Yankee class capabilities 

met the demands of Soviet military doctrine of the period. 

That doctrine viewed "modern war" as one in which nuclear 

weapons played a decisive role. Marshal Vasiliy D. 

Sokolovskiy, editor of the first edition (1962 book) of 

Military Strategy expressed the contemporary Soviet views on 

the nature of a future world war: 

From the point of view of the means of armed combat, a 
third world war will be first of all a nuclear rocket war. 
The mass use of nuclear, particularly thermo-nuclear, 
weapons will impart to the war an unprecedented 
destructive nature. 2 

The role of the Yankee class in this "all or 

nothing" strategy was dictated, in part, by its weapons 

system. Table 1 displays the main characteristics of the 

Yankee class weapons system, the SS-N-6 Serb. 



1 James D. Watkins, Understanding Soviet Naval Affairs , 
Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1985, p. 103. 

2 As cited in The Soviet Art of War . Scott, Harriet and 
William eds., Westview Press, Boulder Colorado, 1982 p. 175. 



TABLE 1 

YANKEE CLASS CHARACTERISTICS 

Weapon Warhead Accuracy 

System Range Yield (CEP 3 ) 

SS-N-6 Mod I 2400 km .5-1 megaton 1.3 km 

SS-N-6 Mod III 3000 km 500 kilotons 1.3 km 

(2 RVs) 

Source: The Military Balance , International 

Institute for Strategic Studies, London, 
England, 1988, p. 206. 



The characteristics listed in Table 1 influenced the 
operating behavior of the Soviet SSBN fleet in two different 
ways. First, to be available for immediate strikes, patrol 
areas were limited to forward areas, subject to hostile 
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) forces. Secondly the 
relatively low accuracy of the SS-N-6 meant that targets 
would be limited to "soft" counterforce or wide area 
countervalue objectives, e.g., Strategic Air Command (SAC) 
bomber bases, industrial concentrations and so forth. The 
combination of these two limitations made the Yankee only an 
evolutionary step in SSBN development, but a development 
which enabled the Soviet Union to implement not the 
preferred strategy, but an adeguate one. 

The Yankee patrol areas within striking range of the 
continental United States were necessarily at great distance 



3 CEP (circular error probable) is defined as radius of 
a circle centered on the target in which 50% of all weapons 
are expected to land. 



from the Soviet Union. This meant that the Yankees had to 
transit waters patrolled by U.S. and Allied ASW forces. It 
followed that, faced with superior Western ASW capability, 
the survivability of the Yankee class could not be 
guaranteed. As a corollary, the Yankees on "forward patrol" 
were virtually faced with the choice of "using or losing" 
their SS-N-6s. 

2. The Early Delta Class Submarines: Delta I/II 

The Soviet Union has traditionally relied on 
incremental weapon systems improvement. Incorporated in the 
construction of the Yankee class was a baseline nuclear 
power plant and engineering system which allowed for growth 
potential to replace the initial inferior weapon system. 
This early commitment to a single hull type enabled series 
production without requiring a massive retooling effort by 
the Soviet shipyards for subsequent improvements . The 
built-in room to expand the capabilities required in the 
future was and is a key design feature of Soviet systems. 4 
Accordingly, even while the Yankee class was first being 
deployed, the design of its successor, the Delta class, had 
already been completed. 5 The Delta class resolved the two 



4 Richard Haver, "The Soviet Submarine Force," James L. 
George, ed. , The Soviet and Other Communist Navies: The 
View from the Mid-1980s . Naval Institute Press, Annapolis 
Maryland, p. 127. 

5 Jan S. Breemer, "The Soviet Navy's SSBN Bastions: 
Evidence, Inference, and Alternative Scenarios," Journal of 
the Royal United Services Institute . London England, March 
1985, p. 22. 



principal drawbacks of the Yankee. The Delta's SS-N-8 could 
strike from Soviet homewaters without necessarily making the 
dangerous transit through contested waters, and the missile 
itself carried a more capable warhead than the SS-N-6. On 
the other hand, as long as the Delta still utilized the 
basic propulsion and HME design of the Yankee, the first two 
series of the Delta class (Delta I and II) , were no more 
able to elude acoustic detection than had been their Yankee 
predecessor. 6 The key to a secure open ocean submarine 
weapons system is the ability to avoid detection. The 
potential patrol areas for the Delta class, while greater in 
terms of area, did little to address the acoustic 
vulnerability problem. Any transit which exposed the Yankee 
and Delta classes to potential interception by Western ASW 
forces placed their survivability in question. Table 2 
lists the main characteristics of the Delta/SS-N-8 weapons 
systems. 

The Soviet Union's incremental design philosophy is 
clearly seen in the development of the next series of the 
Delta class, the Delta III and IV. 



6 Tom Stefanick, Strategic Antisubmarine Warfare . 
Lexington Books, Lexington Massachusetts, 1987, p. 72. 



TABLE 2 
SS-N-8 CHARACTERISTICS 



Weapon 
System 




Range 


Warhead 
Yield 


Accuracy 
(CEP) 


SS-N-8 mod I 




7800 km 


.5-1 Megaton 


1.3 km 


SS-N-8 mod II 




9100 km 


. 8 Megaton 


.9 km 


Source: 


The 


Military Bal 


ance 1987-1988. 


IISS, London 



England, p. 206. 

3 . The Follow-On Delta Class: Delta III/IV 

The next step in the evolutionary growth of Soviet 
SSBN platforms came via the enlarged Delta III and Delta IV 
variants. The continued combination of the existing Yankee- 
Delta hull configuration with more advanced missiles systems 
was noted by Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence, Richard 
Haver: 

The Yankee/Delta family of submarines represents the 
largest single production run of nuclear submarines in 
history. The Delta, a descendant of the Yankee designed 
in the middle to late 1950s, is still being produced. The 
Soviets settled on a basic design for large-scale 
production and then fitted improved weapon systems into 
the basic package and later into refitted and converted 
units. The Soviets have built 72 of these units with more 
to come. 7 

The improvements to the Delta missile system came 

via the SS-N-18, missile deployed in three variants, and the 

SS-N-23. The major improvements over the older missile 

systems included the use of Multiple Independently Targeted 



7 Haver, "The Soviet Submarine Force," p. 125 



Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) , thereby increasing potential 
target coverage, and providing greater accuracy. 8 In 
addition the engineering plant in the Delta IV is more 
powerful than its predecessors. 9 Table 3 depicts the 
principal features of the Delta III/IV missile systems. 

TABLE 3 

SS-N-18/SS-N-23 Characteristics 

Weapons Warhead 

System Range Yield Accuracy 

SS-N-18 mod 1 6500 km 500 kilotons (3 RVs) 1 . 4 km 

SS-N-18 mod 2 8000 km 500 kilotons (1 RV) .9 km 

SS-N-18 mod 3 6500 km 500 kilotons (5 RVs) .9 km 

SS-N-23 8300 km 100 kilotons? (lORVs) <.9 km 

Source: The Military Balance 1987-88 . IISS, p. 206. 

4 . The Typhoon 

The Typhoon is the worlds largest nuclear submarine, 
with a displacement 25% greater than that of the U.S. Ohio 
class SSBN. Armed with 20 MIRVed missiles capable of 
striking all U.S. targets from pierside, it may be regarded 
as the ultimate Soviet weapon for implementing the strategy 



8 Stefanik, Strategic Antisubmarine Warfare , pp. 155-156. 

9 John E. Moore, ed. , Jane's Fighting Ships 1986-87 . 
Jane's Publishing Co., New York, New York, 1987, p. 535. 



10 



of a secure strategic reserve. 10 The embarked SLBM, the SS- 
N-20 is credited with a range of 8300 km and is estimated to 
be armed with between six and 12 re-entry vehicles. 11 Table 
4 shows the characteristics of the Typhoon/SS-N-2 0. 

TABLE 4 

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TYPHOON 

Weapon Warhead Accuracy 

System Range Yield (CEP) 

SS-N-20 8300 km 100 Kilotons .5 km 
Source: The Military Balance. 1987-1988 . IISS, p. 206. 

This latest Soviet SSBN development leads to several 
observations. First, the huge size of the unit provides the 
same growth potential that the earlier Yankee did 2 years 
prior. 12 Secondly, the key design features, long range and 
extreme size, have apparently not been utilized to expand 
the patrol areas to the ocean at large. Instead the 
Typhoon appears designed with an eye on extended and "local" 
under ice operations. 13 



10 Moore, Jane's Fighting Ships 1986-87 . p. 534. 

i:L Watkins, Understanding Soviet Naval Developments , p. 
100. Various sources cite from six to nine to 12 re-entry 
vehicles for the SS-N-20. 

12 Haver, "The Soviet Submarine Force," p. 126. 

13 Haver, "The Soviet Submarine Force," p. 12 6. 



11 



C. DEVELOPMENT OF A WITHHOLDING STRATEGY: THE BASTIONS 

This section traces the evolution of the Soviet Union's 
SSBN withholding strategy, and associated defensive posture, 
generally known as the Soviet SSBN "bastion" strategy. The 
proposition that the evolution of a secure strategic reserve 
has been the ultimate goal of the Soviet SSBN force since 
its inception is examined and developed. It is further 
argued that this goal might culminate ultimately in the 
development of a CAB strategy. 

1. Roles of the Soviet SSBN Force 

Beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, 
according to Western analysts, Soviet strategic thought 
centered on several key concepts. First, the use of nuclear 
weapons in an initial counterforce role was recognized as a 
clear option in a confrontation with the United States. 14 
Second, the Soviet Union recognized a need for a survivable 
strategic reserve for the purpose of a secure force for 
intrawar deterrence including the deterrence of U.S. second 
strike countervalue retaliation against Soviet cities. 15 
While adapting the Svoiet strategic force posture to this 
new requirment, the Soviets seized upon their SSBNs as a key 
contributor to a strategic reserve. 



14 James McConnell, "The Soviet Naval Mission Structure: 
Past, Present, and Future," Soviet and Other Communist 
Navies: The View from the Mid-1980s . James L. George, ed, 
Naval Institute Press, Annapolis Maryland, p. 47. 

15 McConnell, "The Soviet Naval Mission Structure: 
Past, Present, and Future," p. 38. 



12 



D. THE ORIGINS OF THE WITHHOLDING STRATEGY 

Western naval analysts and scholars have long sought to 

rank-order the various roles and mission that the Soviet 

navy may be called on to execute in time of war. A general 

consensus exists on the following ranking of missions 

developed by Robert W. Herrick: 

Deterrence in peace and war, primarily through strategic 
submarines, related to this role is the "function" of 
providing naval protection for the submarines. 

Protection of the homeland against seaborne attack, 
whether from amphibious invasion, strikes by aircraft 
launched from aircraft carriers, or missiles fired from 
naval platforms. 

Naval "combat support" for the coastal flanks of the 
ground forces of the USSR and other Warsaw Pact countries. 

Delivery by strategic submarines and long-range naval 
missile bombers of "operational" nuclear strikes against 
targets in the coastal areas located within the confines 
of the "sea and oceanic" theaters of military operations. 

Protection and promotion of the USSR's "state interest" at 
sea in peace and war. 16 

This hierarchy of roles and missions places a great 

burden on Soviet naval forces. To defend the SSBN force and 

attempt to attrite the West's SSBNs may be asking too much 

of submarines that are generally believed to be 

technologically inferior to those of the West. Despite 

disagreement among some Western analysts as to what may 



16 Robert Herrick, "Roles and Missions of the Soviet 
Navy: Historical Evolution, Current Priorities, and Future 
Prospects," James L. George, ed. , The Soviet and Other 
Communist Navies: The View from the Mid-1980s , Naval 
Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, p. 27. 



13 



constitute the most important Soviet naval wartime 
requirement, i.e., "strategic strike" or "strategic defense" 
it is sufficient for the purpose of this thesis that it is a 
mission requirement that will be carried out to the best of 
Soviet ability. 

The initial evidence of a Soviet withholding strategy 
came from Western analysis of Soviet open source military 
literature in the early 1970s. James M. McConnell, an 
analyst with the Center for Naval Analysis, was probably the 
first to recognize that the Soviet SSBN force had assumed a 
key role in the Soviet concept of intrawar deterrence and 
war termination. The Soviets, according to McConnell, 
provided evidence of this intention with the introduction of 
the Delta SS-N-8 class submarines. 17 

By the summer of 1981, McConnell' s findings had been 

widely accepted within and outside the U.S. Navy 

intelligence community. Then Director of Naval 

Intelligence, Rear Admiral Shapiro, reported at that time 

A surprising unanimity that the Soviets will utilize a 
majority of their General Purposes forces to support 
their SSBNs in protected sanctuaries. This SSBN Bastion 
strategy and its associated use of SSBNs as strategic 
reserve forces is becoming widely accepted by key Soviet 
analysts, both in and out of government. 18 



17 McConnell, "The Soviet Naval Mission Structure: 
Past, Present, and Future," p. 47. 

18 "Report on Annual Office of Naval Intelligence 
Symposium," Office of the Director of Naval Intelligence, 
Ser. Op-009J2/135, 24 August 1981 p. 1. 



14 



Another analyst, Michael MccGwire, has since elaborated 

on the operational implications of this "bastion" strategy: 

The 1970s concept of operations was predicated on avoiding 
escalation to an intercontinental exchange: to achieve 
this the insurance force would have to be held secure 
against determined attempts by the enemy to draw down its 
numbers. This coupled with the requirement for effective 
command and control , meant that the insurance force would 
need to be deployed close to Soviet bases, where such 
defense could most easily be mounted, the force would also 
need missiles with the range to strike at North America 
from home waters. 19 

This withholding concept at once establishes both a need 

and method to ensure the survivability of SSBNs. Clearly, 

an important requirement for the Soviet SSBN fleet is 

survivability. Rather than disperse their fleet of Deltas 

in the greater than 30 million square miles of water that 

are theoretically available by virtue of the SS-N-8/SS-N- 

18' s ong range, the Soviets have chosen to place them in 

sanctuaries adjacent to the Soviet Union. 20 The means of 

withholding is of secondary importance to the rationale, yet 

it is of critical import for the Soviet Navy. 

E. MANIFESTATION OF WITHHOLDING: THE BASTION THEORY 

An important strategic drawback of an SSBN withholding 
posture is that the resulting "fleet in being" becomes an 



19 Michael MccGwire, "Contingency Plans for World War," 
The Soviet and Other Communist Navies: A View from the Mid- 
1980s . James L. George, ed. , Naval Institute Press, 
Annapolis, Maryland, 1985, p. 67. 

20 Donald Daniel, Anti-Submarine Warfare and Superpower 
Strategic Stability . University Press, Urbana, Illinois, p. 
103. 



15 



extremely attractive target for an opponent anxious to gain 

war termination leverage. Accordingly, it makes sense for 

the Soviets to provide their SSBNs with a "layer" of active 

defense forces. James Tritten has pointed out that: 

...open literature evidence includes a declaratory policy 
for the active defense of Soviet SSBNs. Such a defense 
would bait Western navies to combat in areas chosen by the 
USSR. It would allow for protection of Soviet fleet 
assets and the homeland while simultaneously providing for 
the destruction of major enemy groupings. Calling this 
are of active defense a "bastion" seems proper. 21 

The extent to which the Soviet navy has committed its 

general purpose forces to a "pro-SSBN" mission has aroused 

much controversy among naval analysts. There are distinct 

schools of thought regarding the bastion concept. One, 

represented by Jan S. Breemer, is that adequate evidence for 

the wartime existence of the bastions is lacking. 22 The 

lack of explicit discussion by the Soviets on their own 

intentions for their SSBN force preclude definitive 

conclusions. The second — and dominant — school holds that 

the Soviets will protect their SSBNs in near home waters by 

way of a defense in-depth that extends 2000-3000 kilometers 

from the Soviet coastline. 23 This second argument is one 



21 James J. Tritten, Soviet Naval Forces and Nuclear 
War , Westview press, Boulder, Colorado, p. 66. 

22 Breemer, "The Soviet Navy's SSBN Bastions: Evidence, 
Inference and Alternative Scenarios", p. 22. 

23 RADM William O. Studeman, Director Of Naval 
Intelligence, Testimony from House Armed Services Sub- 
Committee on Seapower and Strategic and Critical Materials, 
Washington D.C., 1 March 1988, p. 3. 



16 



of the key planning assumptions underlying the U.S. Maritime 
Strategy. 24 

1. Do the Bastions Exist? 

Writing in the spring of 1985, Jan Breemer noted 
that, while naval analysts had reviewed a plethora of facts 
and Soviet literature, very little had been said by the 
Soviets directly to provide evidence that SSBNs would be 
shepherded into bastions. 25 

Breemer' s arguments against the bastion concept are 
summarized in these three points: 

1. The Soviet SSBN construction program has evolved 
towards large nuclear-powered platforms, with their 
incumbent high costs and greater capabilities. If the 
SSBNs are to be kept in bastions, Breemer argues the 
Soviets might arguably be better served by deploying 
their SLBMs in a larger number of smaller and 
conventionally powered missile carrying boats. 

2. If ballistic missile submarines are to be placed in 
local bastion waters, the Soviets may have solved the 
West's most difficult ASW problem, i.e., finding the 
underwater opponent. 

3 . Coordinated Soviet defense of these bastioned SSBNs 
would be extremely difficult for the Soviet command 
and control system, a task in which target acquisition 
and prosecution would be exacerbated by false contacts 



etc. 



26 



24 The Maritime Strategy , James A. Barber ed. , United 
States Naval Institute, Annapolis Maryland, January 1988, p. 
7. 

25 Breemer, "The Soviet Navy's SSBN Bastions: Evidence, 
Inference and Alternative Scenarios," p. 22. 

26 Breemer, "The Soviet Navy's SSBN Bastions: Evidence, 
Inference and Alternative Scenarios," pp. 22-23. 



17 



In his skepticism on the Bastion theory, Breemer is 
not alone. Admiral Harry D. Train, former Commander in 
Chief Atlantic Fleet, is amongst those who question the 
bastion concept. Train cites the establishment of the "sea 
bridge across the Atlantic" as a key to Western success in 
Central Europe. 27 As a corollary, argues Train, disruption 
of the Atlantic SLOCs "must" be the Soviet Navy's priority. 
Yet the priority of a Soviet anti-SLOC campaign is 
discounted by most analysts. 28 Further, the appearance of 
the occasional Delta class making a South Atlantic 
deployment leads Admiral Train to question the wisdom of 
concluding that bastions are the order of the day for the 
Soviet navy. 29 

In sum, these analysts find that the bastion concept 
cannot be disproven, neither is the evidence sufficient to 
prove its existence as the Soviet de facto strategy for 
peace and war. While acknowledging the importance of 
analyzing Soviet military literature, Breemer cautions 
against overreliance on reading between the lines. This is 



27 Harry Train, "Commentary," Soviet and Other Communist 
Navies: A View from the Mid-1980s , James L. George, ed. , 
Naval Institute Press, Annapolis Maryland, 1985, p. 285. 

28 Soviet Military Power 1988 , Department of Defense, 
Washington D.C., 1988, p. 83. Despite this majority 
opinion, this is an area of naval warfare that would 
directly contribute to the Soviet Army effort in Central Europe. 

29 As cited in Jan S. Breemer "The U.S. Maritime 
Strategy: A Reappraisal," Armed Forces Journal . May 1987, 
p. 5. 



18 



a key point. The arcane world of Soviet doublespeak on any 
issue indeed makes absolute conclusions very difficult. In 
the instance of a fleet effort involving the entire, or 
"bulk" of the Soviet Navy's general purpose forces to 
protect the SSBN force, it would seem that the purists of 
literature analysis ignore the military reality of what type 
of naval campaign will impact a war fought in Western 
Europe. Allocating only minimal forces to engage in this 
type of traditional naval tasks makes little warfighting 
sense. 30 

2 . A Case For Bastions 

The prevailing view of the Bastion concept is 
indebted, in large part, to the work of James M. McConnell. 
McConnell asserts that the ascendancy of the withholding 
strategy led the SSBN force to be equipped with the 
survivable withholding capability inherent in the Delta/SS- 
N-8 weapons system. The extreme range developed in that 
SLBM made the force "survivable to the last day of the 
war". 31 

Mcconnell's work in the early 1970s relied on 
political-military literature analysis and provided the 



30 Perhaps the Soviets are quite pleased with the 
Western interpretation of their SSBN strategy. After all, 
rare is the opportunity to plan for an opponent who 
dismisses the worst case as not being in line with a 
strategy that is only inferred at best. 

31 McConnell, "The Soviet Naval Mission Structure: 
Past, Present and Future", p. 47. 



19 



initial evidence that the Soviets had adopted a withholding 

strategy. A student of the writings of Admiral Gorshkov, 

Mcconnell typically refers to the Soviet Admiral's 

statements in Gorshkov' s book Seapower and the State , in 

support of the role of the importance of the SSBN fleet: 

It is particularly important to note that submarines have 
become the main branch of the forces of fleets. A major 
role is also played by the new strategic orientation of 
the fleets for struggle against the shore. All this is 
making more necessary the all-around backing of the 
actions of the forces solving strategic tasks. Therefore 
the struggle to create in a particular area of a theatre 
and in a particular time, favorable conditions for 
successfully solving by a large grouping of forces of the 
fleet the main tasks facing it and at the same time 
creating conditions such as would make it more difficult 
for the enemy to fulfil his task and prevent him from 
frustrating the actions of the opposing side will 
apparently be widely adopted. 32 

In addition many references in Soviet literature to 
"combat stability" and frequent criticism of the Germans in 
World War II for their alledged failure to provide combined 
arms support for their submarine operations leave a strong 
impression that the Soviets intend to provide defensive 
measures for their SSBNs. 33 

Michael MccGwire, incorporating a more catholic 
approach incorporating both hardware analysis and literature 



32 Sergei Gorshkov, Seapower and the State . Pergamon 
Press, London United Kingdom, 1975, p. 233. The statement 
"forces solving strategic tasks" is assumed to mean SSBNs by 
the author. 

33 "Combat stability" in the sense that survivability to 
carry out the mission is obviously critical. Further, the 
Germans in WWII operated their U-Boats alone without 
assistance of surface units or air cover. 



20 



review, cites other evidence of a bastion scheme. Specifi- 
cally, MccGwire raises these two issues: 

1. Until such time as the missile submarines have fired 
all their missiles or have been deployed to open 
ocean, they must be kept secure against attack — this 
has led to the concept of defended ocean bastions. 

2. If the submarines have been deployed, they must be 
able to transit Western antisubmarine barriers in 
reasonable safety and to survive attempts to find them 
in the open ocean: this raises a requirement for 
support forces . 3 4 

MccGwire has also pointed out that the plethora of 
Soviet surface ships built since 1965 through the late 1970s 
have a strong ASW orientation. MccGwire initially 
attributed the new generation of ASW combatants to a Soviet 
"anti-SSBN" mission, but subsequently concluded that the new 
classes embodied the new "pro-SSBN" protection requirement. 
In any case, strategic ASW against U.S. SSBNs was, and is, 
beyond the capability of the Soviet navy. 35 

Belatedly allowing for the importance of SSBN 
protection, MccGwire acknowledged, in the late 197 0s, the 
bastions as a necessary requirement for SSBN protection. He 
does not believe, however, that this is a permanent state of 
affairs. MccGwire cites development of other survivable 



34 Whether the SSBNs require a convoy to be safely 
shepherded out into the open ocean is not the only issue 
here. There might be a further mission for support forces 
to breach Western defenses to allow the SSBNs to sortie. 
Michael MccGwire, "Soviet American Naval Arms Control," 
Quester, George, ed. Navies and Arms Control . Praeger Press, 
New York N.Y., 1980, p. 54. 

35 Stefanick, Strategic Antisubmarine Warfare , p. 72. 



21 



strategic systems as evidence that the SSBN is only part of 
a strategic reserve, and that road mobile and rail mobile 
systems may end the need for a bastion strategy. 36 

In terms of shipbuilding programs, larger surface 
units were required, not to enhance anti-carrier warfare 
capabilities, but to increase pro-SSBN ASW capabilities out 
to 2 500 kilometers [the range of the Tomahawk cruise 
missile]. 37 The largest Soviet combatants have considerable 
ASW capability at the expense of strike warfare. The 
Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing [VSTOL] carriers all 
carry Yak-3 6 Forger aircraft, but more importantly are 
equipped with hull mounted and variable depth sonars. 38 

The trend to build units which can adequately 
support the bastion defense can be traced to other types of 
Soviet naval units as well. The 11-38 May as and the Tu-95 
Bear F aircraft have improved the capability of Soviet Naval 
Aviation (SNA) for open ocean ASW surveillance and tracking. 
Even so, those assets continue to be greatly hampered by 
lack of cuing information, and quieter Western targets. 

Various other authorities cite Soviet naval 
operations and construction programs as proof positive that 
the Bastion concept is in fact Soviet strategy. 



36 MccGwire, "Contingency Plans for World War, 11 p. 75. 

37 M.L. Miller, "Why Is There A Soviet Navy," Armed 
Forces Journal International , April 1987, p. 36. 



38 



Moore, Jane's Fighting Ships 1986-87 , p. 556. 



22 



The U.S. Naval Institute has also published numerous 

articles endorsing the bastion theory. Three pertinent 

excerpts are cited below. 

The Soviets have also always envisioned that their 
sanctuary based SSBNs would be protected by a portion of 
their general purpose naval and land based air forces. 39 

From a military prospective, virtually all the following 
missions outlined by Defense Minister Yazov promise to 
become more complex and expensive in the coming years. 

The protection of SSBNs, involves major investments in 
antisubmarine warfare systems, including nuclear-powered 
attack submarines, advanced sensors, ASW aircraft and 
surface ships, and the other surface forces needed to 
protect them and the SSBNs themselves. 40 

F. BASTION EXERCISES AND OPERATIONS 

Analysis of the way in which the Soviet navy deploys and 
exercises its units may offer clues to its warfighting 
style. Generally speaking, Soviet naval exercises take 
place East of 15 degrees longitude and North of 60 degrees 
latitude in the Atlantic and West of 160 East Longitude in 
the Pacific. 41 This is somewhat analogous to the United 
States Navy exercising well East of Hawaii and West of 
Bermuda . 

In evaluating the exercises location it seems that sea 
denial is what the bulk of the Soviet Navy is appears 



39 Rivkin, "No More Bastions for the Bear," United 
States Naval Institute Proceedings . April 1984, p. 37. 

40 Richard L. Haver, "Soviet Navy Perspectives," USNI 
Proceedings . May 1988, p. 236. 

41 "NAT0 Review 1985," Supreme Allied Commander Atlan- 
tic, Norfolk Virginia, 1985, pp. 7-9. 



23 



preparing to engage in war time. Sea denial is best 
defined as "the converse of sea control, denying your 
opponent a limited area for a limited time, while not 
actually controlling it yourself." 42 The degree to which 
this is of absolute importance is undeterminable. What is 
of importance is whether the "standard" ocean areas for 
Soviet naval exercises reflect merely a convenient place to 
practice, or if they are indicative of planned theaters of 
wartime operations. 
1. Exercises 

In terms of exercises, the Soviet navy has provided 
several major demonstrations of their at-sea operations in 
recent years. In reviewing SPRING-EX 84 and SUMMER-EX 85, 
it appears these evolutions were primarily oriented towards 
exercising a sea denial role by the Soviet fleet. 43 Since 
repelling U.S. /NATO incursions into the areas adjacent to 
the Soviet Union would not only serve to defend Soviet 
territory, but also the SSBNs, the further forward these 
exercises (operations) take place the more apt they are to 
be effective. Tritten is one of those who has pointed out 
that protection of the bastion is not necessarily limited to 
defensive operations: 



42 R. Van Tol, "Soviet Naval Exercises: 1983-85," Naval 
Forces , Vol. VII, No. 6, July 1986, p. 29. 

43 Van Tol, "Soviet Naval Exercises: 1983-85," p. 29. 



24 



Bastion defense may be defensive strategy, but involves 
aggressive tactics and offensive operations. Bastions 
will not be passively defended. Defense of bastions may 
take place in the conventional phase of the armed struggle 
even though the primary object of attack by the West and 
subject of defense by the Soviet Union are nuclear 
forces. 44 

Thus while an area defense exercise may appear to be 
defense of the bastions by virtue of taking place in a 
particular area, Soviet naval exercises need to be evaluated 
less for their location, and more for their scope of 
operations and degree of coordination between units. 
2 . Operations 

It is very difficult to define the operational tempo 
of the Soviet SSBN fleet. Clearly the Soviets keep a much 
smaller percentage of their forces at sea than does the 
United States. 45 The Soviets seem to maintain 28 of 62 
SSBNs in an alert status vice an advertised over 50% of U.S. 
SSBNs. Several reasons are possible for this difference. 
First, the Soviets may believe that there is no threat 
significant enough on a day-to-day basis to warrant the at 
sea capability for an assured countervalue second strike. 46 
Second, the Soviets may not be capable of maintaining the 



44 Tritten, Soviet Naval Forces and Nuclear War , p. 98. 

45 ADM James D. Watkins, testimony before the House 
Armed Services Committee, FY 1986, Part 2, p. 927. 

46 A number of arguments can be made to support this 
assertion. First, the U.S. national character precludes such 
an attack, even in the most extraordinary circumstances. 
Second, in any plausible scenario, increasing tensions and 
mobilizations on both sides would be expected as a precursor 
to hostilities by the Soviets and the West. 



25 



SSBN fleet in the high state of material readiness necessary 
for units were constantly on patrol. 47 Third, the 
Delta/Typhoon boats in port could be considered available 
for use, and, if their operating areas are close by, even a 
relatively short crisis and tension-building period could 
permit a rapid "surge." 48 

The concept of maintaining a constantly alert and 
fully deployed secure second strike is only reguired if an 
attack by a potential opponent is considered within the 
realm of reason. For the Soviet Union, with the United 
States as the potential assailant, a devastating surprise 
attack may be considered a highly improbable occurrence. 
This alone would justify having very few units in firing 
position or on patrol per se. High readiness to deploy in 
case of a crisis may be a sufficient precaution from the 
Soviet point of view. 49 

The extensive wear and tear on SSBNs constantly on 
patrol may exceed the capabilities of Soviet repair 
facilities. The Ministry of Shipbuilding is separate from 
the Navy and, as throughout Soviet society, it is 
preferable to fulfill the central plan by producing new 
units rather than maintain old ones. The high demand for 



47 Bryan Ranft, The Sea in Soviet Strategy . Naval 
Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1987, p. 170. 

48 Stefanick, Strategic Antisubmarine Warfare , p. 34. 

49 Watkins, Congressional Testimony, FY 1986 HAC, p. 928. 



26 



not only uniformed nuclear reactor specialist, but also 

repair and rework personnel may be sufficient cause alone to 

maintain higher material readiness in port vice running down 

complex equipment at sea. 50 

This does have its drawbacks however when it comes 

to crew proficiency. The lack of practice at operating 

could be a major problem, if operating is a major factor in 

executing a wartime role. If "operating" consists of 

manning what the Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence has 

referred to as "a missile barge," little at-sea time could 

be inconsequential. 51 Admiral James Watkins, former Chief 

of Naval Operations had this to say regarding Soviet 

submarine crew efficiency: 

Soviet crews decry the fact they don't get enough at-sea 
training time. They bitch about it in the documents and 
we see the results. In the last ten years, they have had 
over 2 00 submarine accidents, some of which have been very 
serious. They have lost submarines, had fires, had real 
problems. 52 

The final reason for low SSBN at sea rates may lie 

in the fact the Soviets may utilize the SSBNs in port like 

floating missile batteries. Not only is the range 

sufficient for this purpose, but defense measures are also 

being taken to support Soviet SSBN in-port survivability. 

This includes the construction of tunnels in which SSBNs can 



50 Stefanick, Strategic Antisubmarine Warfare , p. 34. 

51 Haver, "The Soviet Submarine Force," p. 12 6. 

52 Watkins, Congressional Testimony, FY 1986 HAC, Part 
2, p. 928. 



27 



ride out attacks, similar to the submarine pens built by the 
Germans in World War II. 53 

G. CONCLUSIONS 

There is an almost irreconcilable difference between 
what the Soviet navy says its primary mission is and what 
types of general purposes forces it is building. The 
Soviets, having achieved the ability to employ SLBMs from 
within their territorial seas, no longer have to contend 
with dangerous transits and patrols for strategic forces. 
The massive amounts of Soviet literature supporting pro-SSBN 
operations, defense of the homeland, and the need to support 
submarines cannot be denied. Nor can the large, bluewater 
capabilities and efforts of the Soviet Navy. 

The type of navy needed to defend the SSBN fleet in 
homewaters exists in the Soviet navy today. However, along 
with the coastal ASW and robust mining forces at the Navy's 
disposal there exists a second Soviet navy. 

This second navy, the open ocean blue water portion of 
the Soviet fleet, is capable [or is rapidly obtaining the 
capability for] of all the things that naval power has 
traditionally served. Power projection and more important- 
ly, "cruiser warfare" or Sea Lines Of Communication (SLOC) 
interdiction are now missions the navy can execute in 
support of Army operations in the Central Front, Central 



53 Military Power 1986 , Government Printing Office, 
Washington D.C., 1986, p. 21. 



28 



Europe. But these naval tasks can only be carried out if 
general purpose forces are re-assigned away from the open 
ocean pro-bastion mission. This thesis argues that the 
Soviet SSBN fleet can be safely and adequately protected by 
the numerous Soviet coastal vessels, in concert with Land 
Based Air (LBA) . These forces can, and will protect Soviet 
SSBNs in the shallow coastal waters during a conventional 
war. The hypothesis to be examined is that, by establishing 
the bastions within the claimed territorial waters of the 
Soviet Union, minimal force will be required to maintain the 
requisite "combat stability" for SSBNs. This type of 
bastion, a Close Aboard Bastion defined as in which one 
boundary of the bastioned area includes the Soviet landmass, 
has available land based tactical air cover, and lies within 
Soviet territorial seas. The utilization of CABs to protect 
the SSBNs will allow the Soviets to provide maximum leverage 
on the most likely theatre of warfare: the Central Front. 

The origins of the CAB strategy lie in Soviet thought. 
Bradford Dismukes has pointed out that the Soviets have a 
proclivity to telegraph their intended operations via 
statements regarding the purported goals of the United 
States Navy. 54 If this is valid, the repeated discussion of 



54 Bradford Dismukes, "Introduction," Soviet and Other 
Communist Navies: A View from the Mid 1980s . Willam L. 
George ed. , Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1985 
p. 7. 



29 



U.S. coastal operations for various U.S. SLBM platforms is a 

key to Soviet plans for their own SSBN fleet. 55 

Writing in the Winter of 1972, Captain First Rank 

Yerofeyev pointed out the advantages of a SSBN force 

deployed in coastal waters: 

The need is removed to employ the highly vulnerable system 
of forward basing of SSBNs in England, SpajLn, and the 
island of Guam. The disposition of control, 
communications and less wear and tear on propulsion 
systems and transit times makes this optimal. 56 

Further, Captain Yerofeyev pointed out that "since a naval 

intercontinental missile has not yet developed," it is 

unavoidable for the U.S. to utilize this forward basing 

strategy. 57 It was at this time the Delta class and SS-N-8 

were being deployed which could take advantage of its 

inherent range to operate in Soviet coastal waters. 

In the late 1970s as the United States studied various 

platforms in an effort to determine the optimum basing mode 

for the yet to be developed MX missile, the Soviets took 

this occasion to again tout the advantages of a coastal 

deployment strategy: 

Operating from launch areas near the North American 
continent, the minisubs can be screened reliably by the 



55 Inter alia, Ye. Rakitin, "Trident Is Being Improved," 
Morskoy Sbornik , June 1980, p. 82 and L. Yerofeyev, "Naval 
Intercontinental Missiles," Morskoy Sbornik , January 1972, 
p. 51. 

56 Captain First Rank Yerofeyev, "Western SSBNs," 
Morskoy Sbornik , January 1972, p. 51. 

57 Yerofeyev, "Western SSBNs," p. 51. 



30 



continental antisubmarine defenses and can obtain all 
kinds of support. 58 

This could be construed a number of ways. First, the 
Soviets could be telling their own officers a coastal 
strategy was best and it afforded the optimal protection of 
SSBNs. Secondly, the Soviets could be pointing out that 
they first held the option to execute a coastal strategy 
with the long range built into their SS-N-8 system. Lastly, 
it could be signalling to the Soviet naval officers that 
their strategy was "scientifically" correct, and that the 
West was attempting to copy Soviet operations. 

Throughout any examination of Soviet SSBN forces it 
should be realized that the Soviet Union has said very 
little regarding the specific strategies or operating areas 
for their SSBN force. It would not be prudent for them to 
do so for a number of reasons. The following chapters will 
attempt to examine and reconcile the various options and 
drawbacks of a CAB strategy for the Soviet Union. 



58 Ye. Rakitikin, "Trident Is Being Improved," Morskov 
Sbornik, June 1980, p. 83. 



31 



III. THE CLOSE ABOARD BASTION CONCEPT 

A. INTRODUCTION 

This chapter defines, explores and argues the case for a 
Close Aboard Bastion strategy for Soviet SSBNs as a strategy 
optimized for a conventional war-fighting environment. In 
terms of nuclear war, the utility of the CAB is a function 
of the Soviet proclivity to initiate the nuclear exchange. 
Namely, were the Soviets to plan for immediate use of 
nuclear weapons, it would make little sense to deprive 
themselves of a key surprise attack option via the CAB 
concept. It will be shown that the Soviets are able to find 
merit in the CAB concept in military terms, both tactical 
and strategic. In particular, it is argued that the CAB 
concept reconciles the apparent paradox between Soviet 
defensive force withholding reguirements on the one hand and 
the large capable "bluewater" fleet currently operated on 
the other. 

In discussing the benefits of a CAB strategy it must be 
realized that every truly effective strategy is a set of 
choices made to optimize the chances of success in a given 
environment. In the CAB strategy, the Soviets make a clear 
choice as to which type of strategy and environment they are 
opting for: fighting a conventional war while holding their 
SSBNs in positions which make conventional attack very 



32 



difficult. Further, this frees substantial forces for other 
missions, a key factor in conventional warfare. 

The military advantages to the Soviet Union in employing 
the CAB strategy are many. They fall into two categories: 
(1) direct support tactical benefits; and (2) strategic 
advantages. In terms of direct support, this category 
includes factors which will directly assist in protracted 
SSBN survivability, enhance command and control functions, 
ease resupply, and simplify defense options. Several 
strategic advantages exist for the Soviets. First, the CAB 
strategy frees Soviet general purpose forces to execute 
"traditional" naval missions, (specifically interdiction of 
SLOCs) . Secondly, A CAB posture strengthens the Soviet case 
for bartering away SSBNs in a future Strategic Arms Reduc- 
tion Talks [START] treaty in place of mobile systems, yet 
undermining via treaty the key component in Western 
deterrent strength, i.e., the SSBN fleet. 

The following sections highlight the various tactical 
areas strengthened by a CAB strategy. Included are command, 
control and communications, logistics, tactical defense and 
resistance to the risk of a Western nuclear barrage. 

B. TACTICAL MILITARY ADVANTAGES OF THE CAB 
1. CAB Command and Control 

The Soviet SSBN positioned within the territorial 
seas of the Soviet Union in a CAB would benefit from 
extremely reliable command and control. This command and 

33 



control would include all long range systems, satellites, 
high frequency circuits and ultra low frequency (ULF) 
transmissions, in addition to line of sight communications. 
Since some CAB positions may be thousands of kilometers from 
communication nodes, the full range of Soviet communication 
capabilities may be utilized if necessary. The addition of 
ultra-high frequency (UHF) and very high frequency (VHF) 
circuits available for SSBN control is an important addition 
to SSBN connectivity. 

The Soviets have made several advances in long range 
transmission devices, notably a version of the Tu-95, the 
Bear J, which mirror-images the U.S. Navy EC-13 0Q TACAMO 
capability. 1 While these aircraft could transmit messages 
to SSBNs, they could also be utilized to transmit messages 
to general purpose Soviet submarines regarding locations of 
NATO re-supply convoys. It may be a key mistake to assume a 
Tu- 95 Bear J communications aircraft has the same clientele 
as does its U.S. counterpart. Tactical submarines can be 
served as well by VLF communications as can their strategic 
counterparts . 

Soviet plans for employing SSBNs positioned in CABs 
would include participation in either a second strike 
(countervalue) or as part of a strategic reserve. 2 In 



^- Soviet Military Power 1988 , Government Printing 
Office, Washington D.C., 1988, p. 48. 

2 Ranft, The Sea in Soviet Strategy , pp. 168-169. 



34 



either type of use, it is fair to assume major damage may 
have been done to the Soviet strategic communications 
systems. 

In the event a large electromagnetic pulse (EMP) 
generating weapon is detonated, high-freguency communica- 
tions will be degraded due to changes in the ionosphere 
which may last hours. 3 Damage to satellites "could range 
from degradation to destruction. Even in event of 
catastrophic damage (meaning post counterforce) to the 
Soviet C3 architecture, UHF and VHF communications would be 
available almost instantly following such destruction. The 
time to transmit new targeting packages and execute a second 
(or third) strike would be available. In addition, the 
ability to verify that the SSBN still existed and was 
capable of responding to targeting reguirements, would 
greatly aid the generation of follow-on attack planning. 
This instantaneous updating of SSBN status and availability 
is not obtainable in any other deployment scheme. Table 7 
shows some impacts of electro-magnetic pulse on various 
communications media. No nation operating SSBNs desires an 
extended period of time in which the SSBN is out of communi- 
cation with National Command Authority (NCA) . Keeping the 
SSBNs on call in a CAB (while maintaining reliable 



3 Samuel Glasstone, and Philip Dolan, eds., The Effects 
of Nuclear Weapons , United States Departments of Defense and 
Energy, Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1977, 
p. 485. 



35 



TABLE 7 

EFFECTS OF NUCLEAR DETONATIONS ON COMMUNICATIONS 

Frequency 

Band Duration Range 

Very Low Frequency Minutes to Hours 1000s km 

Low Frequency Minutes to Hours 1000s km 

Medium Frequency Minutes to Hours 1000s km 

High Frequency Minutes to Hours 1000s km 

Very High Frequency Minutes Up to 100s km 

Ultra High Frequency Seconds Up to 10s km 



Source: Nuclear Weapons and Effects , Samuel Glasstone 
ed., United States Department of Defense and 
Energy Research and Development Administration, 
Washington D.C., 1977, p. 490. 



communications) would reduce the ambiguous nature of an SLBM 
launched from open ocean. This close control is well within 
the conjectured constraints of the Strategic Rocket Force 
being closely monitored by the Committee for State Security 
(KGB) for weapons release procedures. 4 
2 . CAB Resupplv 

Logistics support for the SSBN force is of key 
import in only two circumstances. First, a situation could 
be envisioned where the strategic reserve is held for a 



4 Coincidentally, the KGB operates its own coastal 
navy — in a CAB concept their role with regard to control of 
the Strategic Rocket Force could be duplicated in a maritime 
fashion. Stephen Meyer, Controlling Nuclear Operations . 
(Ashton B. Cartere ed.), Brookings Institute, Washington 
D.C. , 1987 p. 492. 



36 



relatively long time during a protracted war. In this case, 
rather mundane necessities such as food, spare parts mail, 
etc, would need to be delivered to the SSBN in the CAB. In 
the second instance, a scenario which involved some nuclear 
exchanges, a rather more complex effort to reload (or 
replace due to maintenance problem) the SLBMs in the main 
battery might be required. In either event, a war of any 
length will require that some logistic support will be 
necessary. 

Re-supply of "housekeeping" requirements can be 
accomplished by way of vertical replenishment. This could 
also be done via ship, although that would lend itself to 
greater risk counterdetection due to the presence of a 
supply ship in CAB waters. Since the CAB would be well 
within massive fighter cover available from the PVO Strany, 
the logistics aircraft would be in no danger. Interestingly 
enough, the Soviets continue to operate 90 seaplane 
aircraft. 5 The Be-12 Mail could be well suited to 
delivering supplies to a coastal SSBN. While not listed as 
cargo aircraft, these units could serve a wartime logistics 
role. 

This replenishment would be an outstanding 
opportunity for the Soviet navy to engage in "maskirovka. " 
In deceiving the West about the locations along the Soviet 



Understanding Soviet Naval Developments . Department 
of the Navy, Washington D.C., 1985, p. 140. 



37 



coastline where the SSBNs were actually positioned, the 
Soviets could prepare "ambushes" for forward patrolling 
Western SSNs. Helicopters traveling to remote bays and 
estuaries and dropping off containers could confuse U.S. 
sensors attempting to discover actual SSBN locations. 
Similarly, coastal shipping could be employed in deceptive 
operations. The degree to which ice-free waters are 
available dictates, to some degree,the manner of 
replenishment but clearly such logistics support is 
accomplished with greater ease than returning SSBNs fiom the 
high seas. Such a transit would expose SSBNs to precisely 
the type of threat the CAB protects them from. 

The Soviet navy has built and deployed a ship which 
has the capability to reload SLBMs at sea. The Alexander 
Brykin class, of which only one exists, lends further 
credibility to a CAB strategy. First, an auxiliary ship 
capable of transporting 72 SLBMs to SSBNs transiting through 
high seas makes a target that is highly attractive. 6 Loss 
of such a ship could prove crippling in terms of losses of 
SLBMs. 

Secondly, this situation implies that the SSBN being 
replenished has depleted its initial load-out in a first 
exchange. If so, it seems a fair assumption that United 
States Strategic Command, Control, Communication and 
Intelligence (C 3 I) capabilities will have been adversely 



6 Soviet Military Power , pp. 48-49. 



38 



affected by the initial missile exchanges. 7 While strategic 
C 3 I assets may have been degraded, certainly some tactical 
sensors will remain, and thus a threat would be posed by 
Western forces beyond the protection of coastal forces. 

It is not a gross assumption to believe that at this 
juncture (following an intercontinental exchange) transiting 
such a ship through coastal waters could be accomplished in 
relative safety. All the advantages in a CAB defense would 
benefit the Brykin as it re-supplied various SSBNs in 
coastal waters. 

Logistics support takes on a whole new meaning when 
it is recognized what requirements would exist for a 
protracted forward naval defense in depth of the Soviet 
Union. Maintaining the forward deployed forces on station 
in order to provide defense-in-depth in key areas requires 
an underway replenishment capability the Soviets do not 
have. The CAB enables the Soviets to defend the SSBNs 
without overtasking their limited logistics forces. 

C. MECHANICS OF CAB DEFENSES 

The defense of the CAB does not require the majority of 
the general purpose forces of the Soviet navy. It does 
require the Soviet navy execute several missions which are 
well within its grasp. The defense of the CAB is a very 



7 C 3 I facilities which are not attacked in a counter- 
force missile exchange may be attacked by Soviet special 
forces, spetsnaz. 



39 



simple concept — at least in principle. In relatively 
shallow water, mining can be highly effective. Local 
landbased air cover can provide defense against a variety of 
threats. Coastal ASW patrol craft could defend against 
another danger, namely, the intrusion of hostile fast attack 
nuclear powered submarines (SSNs) . In addition, such 
coastal vessels can provide a powerful anti-surface warfare 
(ASUW) capability via their cruise missile batteries. The 
types of forces required to execute the CAB strategy are in 
the Soviet navy today. 

1 . Mine Warfare and the CAB 

It is widely acknowledged that the Soviet Union 
possesses a huge stockpile of naval mines. 8 Defensive 
mining support of a CAB deployment pattern would certainly 
require a great many mines; moreover, it would be prudent 
for the Soviet planner to prepare more CAB positions than 
there are SSBNs. The creation of redundant CAB locations 
gives flexibility to SSBN operations, allowing for movement 
between bastion positions. Further, this provides, in a way 
similar to the "shell game" MX missile basing scheme, a 
degree of ambiguity in SSBN location. 9 

The geography of the hypothesized CAB locations is 
conducive to defensive minelaying. First, the mines may be 



8 



Ranft, The Sea in Soviet Strategy , p. 96. 

9 This would be a sea-based version of the Multiple 
Protective Shelter (MPS) MX missile basing proposal, 
colloquially known as the MX "shell game." 



40 



deployed during peace time. Since the mines will be placed 
in Soviet internal seas, no international law will have been 
breached. 10 Secondly, the areas to be mined are relatively 
shallow. The vast majority of sea areas that are candidates 
for CAB locations lie well within the two hundred meter 
depth range. 11 In this situation the Soviets could employ 
both bottom and moored mines, leaving very little room for 
an intruder to maneuver in. Lastly, the defensive mining 
could be conducted in such a way as to give each SSBN some 
degree of maneuver space. 

2 . CAB Anti-air Warfare and Western Aviation ASW 

Key characteristic of the U.S. and Allied ASW effort 
is the high level of integration of air assets. To a large 
degree, these aircraft are defenseless. While this does not 
preclude their use in a forward hostile environment, 
aircraft attrition would be a significant problem. The 
ability of these aircraft to search for SSBNs in a CAB, 
operating within range of Soviet land-based aviation could 
mean unacceptable losses. 



10 The Soviets, while signatories to the Third United 
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) , 
unilaterally reserve the right to suspend the right of 
innocent passage through Soviet territorial waters, 
"Territorial Waters of the USSR," Decree No. 384, Council of 
Ministers, 28 April, 1983, Article 6. 

11 The large bodies of open sea claimed by the Soviets 
as internal waters includes almost every bay and indentation 
on the Soviet coastline, including almost completely the 200 
meter isobath. "Limits of the Seas," United States 
Department of State, Series, 800491. 



41 



The PVO Strany, the Soviet command tasked with 
providing air interceptor defense of the Soviet Union is 
largely geared toward intercepting and destroying B-52s at 
high subsonic speeds. 12 Despite some well-publicized 
shortcomings in Soviet air defenses, not the least, of which 
was the arrival of a Cessna 172 in Red Square, PVO Strany 
should be more than able to deal with the West's relatively 
slow maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) . Currently equipped 
with 2,250 fighter-interceptor aircraft, PVO Strany includes 
increasing numbers of 11-7 6 MAINSTAY Airborne Warning and 
Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft which can provide control 
for aircraft not directed by land-based radars in the ground 
controlled interceptor role [GCI]. 13 

The destruction of aircraft that intrude into CAB 
airspace could be accomplished via other means currently in 
the Soviet military inventory. Shore-based surface to air 
missiles, could eliminate aircraft before an ASW 
investigation could even begin. Similarly, some Soviet navy 
coastal patrol craft are equipped with air defense weapons, 
any of which are capable of destroying ASW aircraft. 

The Soviet Union has a large coastal patrol force 
capable of minelaying and sweeping, as well as ASW. In 
these two roles coastal forces would play a key role in 



12 Soviet Military Power 1988 . p. 100, and Frank 
Carlucci, Annual Report to Congress 1988 . Government 
Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1988, pp. 236-237. 

13 Soviet Military Power 1988 . pp. 81-82. 



42 



defending the CAB. Commenting on the coastal-patrol forces, 

James J. Tritten notes that, "Coastal-patrol combatants have 

capabilities well out of proportion to their cost or 

size." 14 The CAB role is one that can fully exploit those 

capabilities. Tritten goes on to add that: 

Most of the Soviet Navy's coastal-patrol forces are 
oriented toward antisubmarine or anti-surface warfare. 
Coastal defense would be performed by more than these 
small combatants, however. Onshore missile batteries, 
defensive minefields, and supporting airpower can all be 
brought to bear on control of the adjacent seas. 15 

A review of Soviet coastal craft can provide some insight as 
to what missions they may be able to execute. While as 
noted below some of these units are be posted to the shallow 
water fleets of the Baltic and Black Sea, 430 ships would be 
available for CAB defensive duties in the Northern and 
Pacific fleets which operate SSBNs. Table 8 cites the 1986 
deployment of coastal craft among the various Soviet fleets. 
It is instruction to construct a notional CAB defen- 
sive flotilla in order to better appreciate the types of 
capabilities these small units may bring to bear. Bearing 
in mind that each fleet might choose to establish several 
"maskirovka" bastions without an SSBN, more "CAB flotillas" 
would need to be formed than there are SSGNs/SSBs. Also, 



14 James Tritten, "Soviet Amphibious, Mine and Coastal 
Patrol Forces," Soviet and Other Communist Navies: A View 
from the 1980s . William L. George ed. , Naval Institute 
Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1985, p. 160. 

15 Tritten, "Soviet Amphibious, Mine and Coastal," p. 
160. 



43 



TABLE 8 

HOMEPORT BY FLEET OF COASTAL WARFARE VESSELS 

Vessel 
T ype Northern Pacific Black Sea Baltic 



Light Forces 


25 




90 




130 




115 


Mine Warfare 


60 




90 




90 




90 


Missile Boats 


25 




45 




45 




25 


Light Frigates 


45 




50 




45 




25 


Totals 


155 




275 




310 




255 


Source: Jane 


1 s Fi 


qhtincr 


Ships. 


1986- 


-87, pp. 


577- 


-592. 



different mixes of CAB flotillas might reflect the specific 
defense required of a given area, i.e., heavier emphasis in 
ASW versus mine warfare, etc. 

First, Table 9 lists the primary "installed" warfare 
capabilities of the Soviet navy's coastal defense forces. 

Added to the inventory of "active fleet" CAB defen- 
sive forces could be substantial numbers of combatants 
normally held in reserve. 16 

A "notional" coastal flotilla charged in the defense 

of a CAB position might include the following: 

1. Petya Class Light Frigate: Serving as the flotilla 
commander's flagship, the Petya towed sonar would 
serve as the outward guard against hostile SSN forces. 



16 Tritten, "Soviet Amphibious, Mine and Coastal Patrol 
Forces," p. 160. Jane's reports about 80 Soviet ships in 
reserve which could be utilized for CAB defense. Many of 
these are conventionally powered submarines. 



44 



TABLE 9 
SOVIET COASTAL VESSEL TYPES AND CAPABILITIES 



Unit 
Grisha 

Mirka 

Petya 

T-58 
Unit 
T-43 

Pauk 

Turya 

Poti 

Stenka 



ASW Weapons/Sensors 

ASW Rockets/Depth Charges Hull 
and dipping Sonar 

Torpedoes/Hull and Dipping 
Sonar 

ASW Rockets/Depth charges, 
torpedoes/ 7 6mm Gun Hull 
mounted Sonar 

ASW Rockets/Depth charges/ 
Hull mounted Sonar 
Anti-submarine Warfare 

Depth charges/Hull mounted 
Sonar 

ASW Rockets/Depth charges 
Dipping Sonar 

Depth Charges/Dipping 
Sonar 

Torpedoes/ASW Rockets 



Torpedoes/Depth charges 
Dipping sonar 



AAW Weapons 
SA-N-4 



Dual-purpose 
57mm Gun 

Dual-purpose 



Dual-purpose 

57mm 
AAW/ASUW 

Dual Purpose 
37mm 

Dual -Purpose 
76mm 

Dual-Purpose 
57mm 

Dual-Purpose 
57mm 

AAW 3 0mm 



Source: Jane's Fighting Ships 1986-87 . pp. 580-588. 



2. Matka Class Missile Hydrofoil: Equipped with SS-N-2 
Styx missile system, this unit would be the anti- 
surface platform. 

3. T-4 3/PGR: The long range air search radar would serve 
as organic threat warning and control of CAB air 
assets. 

4. Nanuchka Class Missile Corvette: The point air 
defense capability aboard this unit provides the CAB 
force with organic AAW capability, while the long 



45 



range of its anti-surface battery could be useful as 
well . 

5. Poti Class Patrol Craft: A final vessel incorporating 
both ASW and limited AAW in one hull. 

While this sample force does not include logistics ships, 

the many auxiliaries and amphibious warfare ships in all 

fleets could be pressed into service in this role. The 

total number of coastal combatants, 430 (Table 6) could form 

86 notional flotillas. This would allow for about 20% of 

these ships to be in repair, transit, or in "maskirovka 

flotillas" at any given time. 

While the smaller coastal vessels may not be 
equipped with the most modern or sophisticated sonar 
systems, this disadvantage is offset, to a degree, by local 
advantages in geography and hydrography. The shallow water 
ASW problem, a very difficult tactical situation for both 
Soviet and U.S. forces, would greatly work to the Soviets 
favor. No doubt, the waters in question would have been 
acoustically surveyed and mapped by the Soviet Union. U.S. 
SSNs, by contrast, would frequently be ignorant of local 
underwater topography and acoustic conditions. 

The SSBN will be a difficult target while remaining 
submerged and immobile. The most detectable sources for 
SSNs searching may be eliminated by operating only those 
"hotel" services required to maintain crew habitability and 



46 



weapons systems readiness. 17 In this way even a relatively 
noisy SSBN could operate covertly within a CAB. 

Finally, shallow water ASW against suspected CAB 
locations would entail contending with high levels of 
ambient noise. Since many of the CAB positions would be 
located within the marginal ice zone, the additional noise 
of the grinding and crushing ice would greatly hamper 
strategic ASW efforts by the West. Tom Stefanick has 
pointed out in his book, Strategic Anti-Submarine Warfare 
and Naval Strategy , that "there is little prospect of U.S. 
area acoustic surveillance of the Soviet marginal seas." 18 

Lastly, SSBN noise levels could be "masked" by the 
coastal patrol vessels guarding the CAB positions via noise 
making decoys or own-ship acoustic signature. 
4. CABs and ICBM/SLBM Counterbatterv Fire 

A potential CAB defensive drawback is the risk of 
preemptive U.S. counterbattery fire by ICBMs, SLBMs or 
aircraft delivered nuclear weapons. From the military 
standpoint, barraging all known CAB locations with nuclear 
weapons does not appear to be a practical Western option. 
The reason for this appraisal is the following: first, the 
target set of 62 SSBNs would presumably be distributed along 



17 Stefanick, Strategic Antisubmarine Warfare , p. 266 
18 Stefanick, Strategic Antisubmarine Warfare , p. 43. 



47 



the 25,000 miles of Soviet coastline. 19 This means the that 
the total target area amounts to: 

[25,000nm x 12nm (territorial seas)] = 300,000nm 2 . 

Weapons requirements to saturate 300,000 nm 2 can be 
calculated using Tom Stefanick's model: 20 



(1) pi (4nm) 2 = 51nm 2 Targets within this radius are 

subject to 590psi overpressure and 
can be assumed to be eliminated. 21 



In order to barrage the entire area encompassing the CABs, 
the following calculation determines the requisite number of 
one megaton warheads required to deliver the effects 
outlined above: 

(2) 3 00, 000nm 2 /51nm 2 = number of aimpoints for one megaton 

weapon 



5,883 aimpoints > 5,883 x 1.35 [correction for 

targeting error 
etc. 22 ] 



19 Clearly, there are areas which could not be utilized 
as CAB positions, but equally clearly the U.S. would not be 
willing to use its entire nuclear arsenal to execute this 
strategy. 

20 Stefanick, Strategic Antisubmarine Warfare , p. 37. 

21 Stefanick, Strategic Antisubmarine Warfare , p. 37. 

22 According to Stefanick's calculations, an 
overpressure of 590 psi (pounds per square inch) is required 
for a very high probability of inflicting fatal damage to a 



48 



= 7,942 Equivalent Megatons Required 
(EMT 23 ) 



Barrage of this scope would consume the entire EMT 
reportedly available in the U.S. strategic arsenal yet still 
leave considerable shortages (see Table 10) . 



Weapon 
Minuteman II 4 50 
Minuteman III 227 

300 



TABLE 10 
UNITED STATES ANTI-SSBN BARRAGE ASSETS 



Total 
Available EMT 



Notes 

900 MT Assumes 2 MT warhead 
115.7 MT 3 RVs 170 Kiloton 
301.5 MT 3 RVs 335 Kiloton 



Peacemaker (MX) 23 109.3 MT 

Poseidon C-3 256 102.4 MT 

Trident C-4 284 307.2 MT 

Totals 1,670 1,820 EMT 



10 RVs 475 Kiloton 
10 RVs 4 Kiloton 
8 RVs 100 Kiloton 



Source: The Military Balance. 1987-1988 . IISS, p. 202 



submarine, if a submarine is exposed to 590 psi at a 

distance of four nm from a 1 megaton underwater burst. 

Hence the theoretical submarine "kill radius" for a 1 
megaton explosion is: pi [4nm] 2 = 51nm 2 

23 Equivalent Megatons, the total amount of explosive 

power of a given nuclear weapon or group of nuclear weapons 
expressed in millions of tons of TNT. 



49 



Even this staggering amount of EMT massed by the 
United States is inadeguate to the task. Certain tightening 
of area of probabilities (AOP) for the CAB would impact the 
necessary number of one megaton aim points. For instance, 
if the United States could locate with a high degree of 
confidence the Soviet SSBN fleet, then the reguisite weapons 
reguirements would decrease. Assuming suitable areas for a 
CAB were limited to perhaps only 2 00 sites, with an average 
radius of 2 0nm, then the number of weapons reguired changes 
as follows: 

200 x pi (20nm) 2 = 80,000nm 2 (total area to be 

barraged) 

80, 000nm 2 /51nm 2 = 1,569 aimpoints 
1,569 X 1.35 = 2,118 EMT 

This smaller number of nuclear weapons does not take into 
account the degradation of nominal weapons effectiveness in 
shallow water. Generally speaking, degradation of the 
underwater burst is a function of water depth and bottom 
type. 24 

Clearly, even assuming a "best case" scenario in 
which the United States would know with certainty that the 
bombardment of 2 00 targets would very probably result in the 
destruction of the entire Soviet SSBN fleet, the reguirement 



24 Nuclear Weapons and Effects , p. 273. 



50 



for 2,118 EMT is clearly beyond current or projected U.S. 
strategic force capabilities. Basically, the pay-off would 
not be worth the cost, would consume forces that are not 
replaceable in wartime, and reduce the U.S. strategic triad 
to the Strategic Air Command [SAC] bomber force. 25 By 
contrast, the Soviets would still retain their land-based 
mobile forces, silo-based ICBMs, and bomber force, and, as a 
result, an important strategic advantage. 

D. STRATEGIC ADVANTAGES OF THE CAB 

The possible strategic advantages of a CAB SSBN 
deployment scheme for the Soviet Union are threefold: 

1. It would permit the release of large numbers of Soviet 
navy general purpose forces for the prosecution of 
other than pro-SSBN tasks to assist in protracted and 
conventional war aims; 

2 . In the event the United States contemplated nuclear 
counter force options, the CAB scheme would complicate 
coordination of targeting; and 

3. In fighting a conventional war in which the Soviets 
had some limited goals (among which was the avoidance 
of an intercontinental exchange}, placing the SSBN 
fleet in CABs could be construed as a signal of their 
intent to avoid use of nuclear weapons. Those 
possible benefits are discussed next. 



25 Intentionally deleted from these computations for 
simplicity's sake. While the B-l, B-52 and FB-111 all could 
deliver large yield gravity bombs on CAB positions, they 
would be subject to attrition etc., enroute to the CABs. 
Further, TLAM/N warheads of 2 00 kilotons would have an 
extremely short lethal radius, ruling out there use in this 
role. 



51 



1. The Conventional War Advantage 

The Soviet navy doctrine for wartime operations is 

an integral part of Soviet unified doctrine. Officially, 

Soviet navy spokesman do not recognize unique "laws" of 

armed conflict at sea . Instead: 

Victory is achieved by the coordinated efforts, and this 
gives rise to the necessity of integrating all knowledge 
about warfare in the frame work and limits of a single 
unified military science. 26 

As an integrated component of Soviet military power, the 

navy will presumably be employed to meet total national 

wartime, be it in a nuclear or in a conventional war. 

Most contemporary Western analysts of Soviet military 

affairs are agreed that current (1980s) Soviet military 

planning stresses the priority of conventional war-fighting. 

According to James M. McConnell: 

...since the spring of 1981, it looks like achieving an 
independent conventional option as the basic option — not 
the only option, but the basic option — has been set as an 
objective of the 1981-1985 plan going on right now. 27 

Foremost in Soviet conventional war planning is 

presumably the European Front. In the event of war in 

Central Europe, NATO will be burdened with the defense of 

the trans-Atlantic sealines of communications [SLOCs] . No 



26 FADM Chernavin, Morskov Sbornik , January 1982, p. 20 
[as translated by Defense Technical Information Center]. 

27 J.M., McConnell, CNA Report No. 82-1885, "Evidence of 
A Higher Priority for the Soviets in an Anti-SLOC Campaign," 
Alexandria, Virginia, 1982 p. 1. 



52 



doubt, Soviet military planners are fully aware of their 
potential opponent's logistical weak link. 

In the early 1980s the Soviet Union began to review 
the importance of a potential campaign to interdict the 
SLOCs resupplying NATO. 28 According to one of the most 
prominent Western interpreters of Soviet military 
pronouncements, James M. McConnell, this recent Soviet 
literary concern with the West's dependence on the trans- 
Atlantic SLOC, is evidence that SLOCS are of new importance. 
McConnell quotes G.M. Sturua, a frequent Soviet commentator 
on Western security affairs, in his article "The U.S. 
Reliance on an Oceanic Strategy?" in 1982: 

The first convoys of transports with reinforcements and 
supplies for NATO's joint ground forces would start to 
arrive in Europe no earlier than three weeks after the 
possible initiation of combat action, with losses from the 
combat organized by an opponent possibly amounting even in 
the first stage to 50-70% of all the freight hauled. 29 

The CAB concept, as envisaged in this paper, would 

serve to make available — with no or little loss of SSBN 

security — precisely the numbers and kinds of naval forces 

that might just succeed where the German U-boats of World 

War I and II did not. The current [1988] U.S. Navy 

intelligence estimate of Soviet bastion strategy holds that 



28 McConnell, "Evidence of A Higher Priority for the 
Soviets in an Anti-SLOC Campaign," p. 1. 

29 G.M. Sturua, "The U.S. Reliance on an Oceanic 
Strategy," Morskov Sbornik . March 1981, p. 102, as cited by 
McConnell, "Evidence of A Higher Priority for the Soviets in 
an Anti-SLOC Campaign," p. 5. 



53 



only 25 percent of Soviet Northern fleet general purpose 
submarines forces will be committed to other than pro-SSBN 
duties. 30 If the Soviets are serious about protracted 
conventional war planning and, as a corollary, a sustained 
anti-SLOC campaign, then they must clearly find a less asset 
intensive alternative to the bastion scheme that has 
presumably been in effect for the past 15 years or so. The 
CAB concept offers such an alternative. 

2 . Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties and the CAB 

As the Soviet Union and the United States appear 
embarked on a new era of strategic weapons systems 
[including SSBNs] "build-down," the role of strategic 
reserve forces becomes more important. The importance of a 
secure and flexible second strike capability is such that 
diversification of the second strike and strategic reserve 
will be a key element in a future strategic weapons 
reduction treaty. The need to hedge against a technological 
breakthrough against any one leg of the intercontinental 
delivery systems will encourage new basing modes (rail 
mobile etc.). The implications for the CAB concept are 
several. First, as the absolute number of SSBNs decreases, 
individual units will become more important. Lastly, 
because a START treaty [by definition] would entail reduced 
numbers of nuclear weapons for an area barrage, the area 



30 RADM Studeman, Testimony before the House Armed 
Services Committee, Washington D.C., March, 1988. 



54 



barrage option would lose whatever attractiveness it might 
have under conditions of "nuclear plenty." 

The currently SALT mandated-limit of 62 modern SSBNs 
for the Soviet Union, and 41 for the United States will be 
the "starting line up" for START-negotiated SSBN/SLBM 
reductions. Since there are sub-limits in terms of 
launchers (strategic nuclear delivery vehicles/SNVDs) a 
further reduction in hulls authorized would be an area in 
which both sides may be amenable to new, lower limits. With 
current proposals allowing for 4,900 warheads on ballistic 
missiles, and maintaining the current Soviet 2:1 land versus 
sea basing modes, the Soviets SSBN force could be drastical- 
ly reduced. 31 For the Soviets, an all-Typhoon force of 
perhaps eight hulls would be mandated to remain within 
proposed limits. 32 Hiding eight SSBNs within the confines 
of the territorial seas of the Soviet Union is an easier 
task than secreting 62. In any case, the particular 
benefits for the CAB strategy are at least twofold; first 
each SSBN will have the benefit of a proportionately larger 
number of coastal defense assets. Secondly, there will be 
greater resources allocated to conventional warfighting 
general purpose forces. Of course there are interactive 



31 "Strategic Arms Reduction Talks," U.S. Senate 
Republican Policy Committee, William Armstrong, Chairman, 
June 29, 1988, p. 5. 

32 Norman Polmar, "Missile Agreements," Proceedings , 
USNI, February 1988, p. 117. 



55 



permutations of these benefits. A greater number of "false" 
CABs could be prepared, more could be spent on other types 
of maskirovka etc. 

In terms of contributing to general purpose forces, 
it may be well assumed that a START treaty will reduce 
"strategic" weapons, and proliferate "tactical" ones. 
Converted SSBNs may carry cruise missiles which may not be 
covered under the treaty. 33 In addition, the CAB concept 
may offer refuge to ex-SSBN cruise missile submarines 
[SSGNs] if they were to form part of the strategic reserve. 
They, too, could be afforded protection inside of the CAB, 
and could be counted as a secure reserve. 

The net impact of any START treaty on the CAB may be 
to enhance its utility to the Soviet Navy in conventional 
warfighting terms. 

3 . Strategic Reserves: A Dynamic Format 

The Soviet Union and the United States have long 
considered land mobile ICBM basing. 34 The degree to which a 
nation now relies on mobile systems is presumably indicative 
in part of its faith in the relative security of its 
seagoing nuclear forces. The Soviets with their currently 
deployed SS-24 rail-mobile ICBM have the lead in this area. 



33 Watkins, Congressional Testimony, FY 1986 HAC, Part 
2, p. 103. 

34 In the Eisenhower administration a Minuteman train 
mobile system similar to the MX train mobile scheme was 
planned with 50 trains. The Kennedy administration 
cancelled the program. 



56 



In addition the SS-25 road-mobile ICBM allows for increased 

survival from a counterforce strike via dispersion. 35 While 

only 100 SS-25s are currently operational, targeting these 

units is among the most difficult of all C 3 I problems. 36 

The key to a strategic reserve is survivability, not 

only of the weapons systems, but also of the reguisite 

command and control architecture to enable a second strike. 

The 1988 version of Soviet Military Power: An Assessment of 

the Threat , points out that the trend is for a smaller 

percentage of Soviet total intercontinental capable warheads 

to be deployed in a ground encased silo or SSBNs. 37 This 

does not differentiate between force allocations in terms of 

strategic reserve et al., however, this shift towards 

survivable systems apart from seabased systems has been 

noted by Western analysts. MccGwire points out that: 

Had it not been for the USSR's development of mobile 
missiles, the increasing accuracy of U.S. ballistic and 
cruise missiles might have brought a greater Soviet 
emphasis on sea based ballistic and cruise missiles. As it 
is however, the lesser vulnerability and costs of mobile 
missiles make it unlikely that the USSR will follow the 
U.S. policy of placing an ever greater share of its 
strategic missiles on seagoing platforms. 38 

It would seem that the Soviet Union, as is the 

United States, is concerned lest it place too great a burden 



35 Soviet Military Power , pp. 29, 47. 

36 IISS, p. 206. 

37 IISS, p. 206. 

38 MccGwire, "Contingency Plans for World War," p. 33. 



57 



on any given ICBM/SLBM delivery system. This again works to 
support a CAB strategy. The Soviets prefer survivable 
systems, capable of a prompt hard target kills: not those 
necessarily "wet" or dry. A combination of different 
survivability schemes complicates counterforce targeting 
problem for the United States. 

Table 11 indicates the relative shift of basing 
platforms within the Soviet arsenal and the projection for 
the next decade. 

TABLE 11 
SOVIET STRATEGIC FORCE MIX 



SLBMs 




ICBMs 



1987 



Bombers 



Bombers 



•£«imaies based on current i rends 




SLBMs 



Mid-1990s* 



Source: Soviet Military Power, 1988 , p. 46. 



58 



4 . Historical Factors for the CAB 

The Soviet navy may have suffered from an inglorious 
historical naval tradition due to its exploits in the Second 
World War. This however is not due to their fine record in 
coastal operations. 39 The Soviets fought well in defense 
roles along their own coasts. While this may be the weakest 
argument in support of the CAB, the direct defense of the 
Soviet Union and its territorial waters is not a task to be 
taken lightly by the Soviet navy. 

5. Summary 

Advantages accrue to the CAB when the relative 
merits are reviewed in conventional warfighting logic. The 
ability of the Soviet navy to generate forces on "the 
cheap" for both bastion defense and more traditional naval 
missions is the central advantage in terms of military 
gains. The next chapter reviews Legal and Political factors 
regarding the CAB strategy. 



39 Friedreich Ruge, The Soviets As Naval Opponents , 
Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1979, p. 191. 



59 



IV. LEGAL AND POLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS TO THE CAB CONCEPT 

A. INTRODUCTION 

The purpose of this section is to explore the legal and 
political factors that may have entered — indeed may have 
encouraged — the postulated Soviet CAB decision. Examined is 
the proposition of an extremely "practical" linkage between 
Soviet efforts in recent years toward international adoption 
of a 12 mile territorial sea regime, and the timing and 
intention to deploy the Delta class SSBN force capable of 
executing a Close Aboard Bastion strategy. The basic 
premise is that the sovereignty over a greater portion of 
Soviet coastal seas has important implications for the 
Soviet Union's wartime strategic ASW. Additionally, the 
political ramifications of striking Soviet territory in an 
effort to eliminate strategic nuclear forces is entering a 
realm of the unknown and unknowable. In political terms 
incursion into the Soviet Union's homewaters will be 
examined to determine to what degree the Soviets regard 
their territorial seas as inviolate in warfighting 
escalation. The political and legal issues regarding the 
CAB are further complicated by the integrity of Soviet 
waters in peacetime, weapons basing and the Soviet efforts 
to establish "ASW-free zones" in order to protect their SSBN 
force. In concert, these factors make analysis of Soviet 



60 



coastal claims and intentions difficult to examine in this 
regard. 

B. THE LAW OF THE SEA AND SOVIET NAVAL POLICY 

The original premise for the Third United Nations Law of 
the Sea Convention (UNCLOS III 1983) was to codify and 
standardize the various national claims regarding 
territorial seas. 1 While some coastal states had advanced 
claims of 200 nautical miles, others claimed only three 
nautical miles. Both the United States and the Soviet Union 
were willing to accept a 12 nautical mile statute, in 
addition to other guarantees of freedom of navigation, in 
order to standardize the recognized coastal territorial 
seas. The original cooperation between the two principals 
(the United States and the Soviet Union) ended with the 
politicization of UNCLOS III. The degeneration of UNCLOS 
III into a propaganda debate centered on the sharing of deep 
sea bed mining among all nations as a "common heritage of 
mankind." However, the ultimate recognition of the key 
navigation issues became belatedly accepted as customary 
law. 2 



l-Burdick Brittin, International Law for Seagoing 
Officers , Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1986, 
p. 81. 

2 Brittin, International Law for Seagoing Officers , p. 
11. Customary law is defined as "where by dint of usage, the 
custom was recognized by states as an obligation instead of 
a matter of voluntary compliance." The key navigation 
issues were, straights passage, innocent passage of 
warships, standard limits to territorial seas and 



61 



The following review of UNCLOS III highlights the Soviet 
position on navigation issues, and postulates a close 
relationship between the Soviet view on the scope of 
"territorial" sea rights, and the practicality of a CAB SSBN 
deployment scheme. 

1. Background on the Soviet Position 

An advantage of the Soviet system is its ability to 
coordinate within its integrated foreign and military policy 
all the key adjuncts to support its goals. Among these 
important collateral issues was the problem of territorial 
seas. In 1966 the Soviet Union had tabled a resolution in 
the United Nations calling for a review of key issues left 
unresolved by the 1958 Law of the Sea Conference. 3 This was 
viewed favorably by the other major maritime powers, notably 
the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and France. 
For the United States and the Soviet Union, a central 
concern was the freedom of movement of naval forces. In the 
case of the Soviets, generally conceded to own an adverse 
geographical position, the importance of freedom of 
navigation via international straights and the establishment 
of an internationally agreed 12 nautical mile zone of 
territorial seas were priorities which reguired internation- 
al codification. 



archipelagic passage amongst island states. 

3 Mark W. Janis, et al., Soviet Ocean Development . 
National Ocean Policy Study for the Committee on Commerce, 
Washington D.C., October, 1976, p. 288. 



62 



Essentially, the Soviet goal was threefold: first, 
the Soviets desired a 12 mile territorial sea. Secondly, 
they were concerned about the maintenance of freedom of 
passage through the straits of the world, critical to 
projecting naval forces out into the open ocean. Lastly, 
the Soviets were anxious to have their ambiguous definition 
of "historic waters" recognized. The Soviet definition of 
"historic waters" is significant because its international 
recognition would vastly expand the sea areas "legally" 
available to the Soviet Union for implementation of a CAB 
posture. 4 

These three wishes were advanced in 1977 by Colonel 
of Justice Tarkhanov writing in the Soviet journal Morskoy 
Sbornik ; 

1. Creation of a favorable legal regime of maritime 
expanses for the Navy. 

2 . Improvement of rules of relationships among navies of 
different states. 

3. Development of measures to adopt in naval practice the 
requirements, principles, and norms of international 
maritime law. 5 

While studies have shown inconsistencies in the 

Soviet position regarding the locale and extent of their 



4 The Soviet definition of historical waters are those 
bodies of waters "used primarily by one state over a length 
of time." In general this has meant that historical waters 
can be defined as anyplace the Soviets don't want you to go. 
This is adequately ambiguous to allow for latitude in 
claiming those seas which Soviets feel are of import. V. 
Mamchits and Y. Markov, "Legal Regime of International 
Straits," Morskoy Sbornik . November 1975, p. 74. 

5 I. Tarkhanov, "International Maritime Law and the 
Navy," Morskoy Sbornik . January 1977, p. 82. 



63 



claims for historic territorial seas, any such claim, in 
particular to the Arctic coast, would greatly expand the 
possible areas for a CAB strategy. 6 

Several ancillary issues were connected with these 
three primary interests, including the delineation of 
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) rights and responsibilities, 
and the requirement that deep sea mining technology be 
shared by all states. Nevertheless the primary interest of 
the Soviets, was to secure freedom of navigation for naval 
forces. The Soviet literature during the course of UNCLOS 
III negotiations discussed items such as Arctic passage, but 
the focal point throughout remained making a statement in 
support of these three primary Soviet goals. 7 

The timing of the Soviet drive for codification of 
the twelve nautical mile sea and the development of the 
Delta class SSBN cannot be ignored. This evidence, 
although circumstantial in nature, shows the drive to obtain 
a twelve mile sea coincided with the plans to construct a 
withholding force of SSBNs. The initiation of the actual 
conference to review the Law of the Sea [LOS], coincidental 
with the Delta/SS-N-8, could have well been part of a plan 



6 Lewis M. Alexander, "Navigational Restrictions Within 
the New LOS Context," Offshore Consultants Inc., Peace Shore 
Rhode Island, December 1986, Defense Supply Contract No. 
MDA-903-84-C-0276 . 

7 W.E. Butler, "Innocent Passage and the 1982 Conven- 
tion: The Influence of Soviet Law and Policy,", pp. 336-7. 
Butler discusses the key military applications of the LOS, 
notably territorial seas and passage of warships. 



64 



to ensure the Soviet Union has a secure strategic reserve 
within the borders of Soviet territory. While linkage of 
this type is difficult to prove conclusively, it can be 
considered in the broader context of the entire Soviet 
strategic approach regarding military operations. If the 
decision to build the Delta class submarine prompted an 
effort to provide greater territorial seas for it to operate 
in, it would have made good sense for the Soviet Union to 
seek the appropriate and "legal" international environment 
in advance. The reality of Western ASW superiority may have 
convinced the Soviets that by utilizing a CAB scheme, the 
West would have to conduct strategic ASW offensive opera- 
tions in what amounted to Soviet soil. This would be 
something that would work for the survivability of SSBNs, 
given that their would be political sensitivity to such 
"homeland" strikes. 

2 . Territorial Seas 

The Soviet claim on a 12 nautical mile territorial 
sea has rested on three arguments: first the Soviets have 
claimed historical precedent based on Soviet law from the 
1920s. 8 Secondly, the Soviets have cited the International 
Law Commission as having "recognized and firmly 



8 United States Department of State, Limits of the Seas , 
pp. 21-433. A Decree dated June 27, 1921 claims a 12 
nautical mile limit for all Soviet coastal boundaries. 



65 



establishing" the 12 mile limit. 9 Thirdly , they have 

argued that extension of the territorial seas to 12 nautical 

miles no more than recognizes progress in technological 

means for fuller exploitation of offshore waters. According 

to one Soviet commentator: 

...the question of the breadth of the territorial sea, 
still on the agenda of international conferences on 
maritime law, should be resolved taking technological 
progress into account. .. limits should conform to the 
present level of development of science and technology. 10 

In exploring the relationship between the 
territorial sea and the CAB strategy only the issues 
regarding the integrity and breadth of Soviet claimed seas 
are germane. In examining these issues, the measurement of 
the territorial sea is crucial, as is Soviet declatory 
policy regarding the sovereignty issues. 

Since the territorial sea is measured from a 
baseline seaward as delineated by the coastal state, the 
definition of this baseline is critical to the delineation 
of the areas encompassed by the Soviet territorial seas and 
internal waters. 



9 Brittin, International Law for Seagoing Officers , p. 
77. The International Law Commission is quoted as: "The 
commission does not recognize an extension of the 
territorial sea beyond 12 nautical miles." 

10 Barabolya Ivanschenko et al., Ocean. Technology. Law. 
NTIS 1975, translated from original text published in 1972 
Moscow Press, p. 54. This might include technical ability 
to monitor these seas as well as exploit their natural 
resources. 



66 



The baseline issue closely tracked by the Soviets 
throughout all the Law of the Sea Treaties. In the book, 
Ocean, Technology and Lav , the authors acknowledged that the 
"question of the length of the baseline provoked sharp 
discussion and was not resolved at the 1958 Convention". 11 

The UNCLOS III determination regarding the baseline 

issue was ambiguous. It stated that the coastal states were 

required to see to it that: 

The drawing of a straight baseline must not depart to any 
appreciable extent from the general direction of the 
coast, and the sea areas lying within the lines must be 
sufficiently closely linked to the land domain to be 
subject to the regime of internal waters. 12 

The Soviet baseline, as declared in Decree Number 

4450, dated 15 January 1985, which outlined the ocean 

borders of the Soviet Union is, a "straight baseline" 

border. 13 It is in direct contradiction with the spirit and 

letter of the UNCLOS III treaty. For instance, the baseline 

drawn across Peter the Great Bay, home of Vladivostok Naval 

base, is 112 nautical miles. It covers a shoreline that is 



11 Baraboyla, Ocean, Technology, and Law , p. 55. 

12 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Part 
II Section 1, Article 7.3, 10 December, 1982. 

13 Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union, Decree 
Number 4450, 15 January, 1985, p. 435. A "straight 
baseline" coastal border is defined as one in which the 
irregularities of the coastline are ignored and points most 
seaward are connected by straight lines to form the 
baselines from which territorial seas are measured. 



67 



both sinuous and irregular. 14 Petropavlosk is equally well 
"protected" by improperly drawn baseline as depicted in 
Figure 1. 

On the Northeast Passage, several baselines are 
drawn to "close" various straits, notably Vil'Kitsgo and 
Dimitriya Lapteva. 15 While the Soviets point out that other 
states utilize greater baseline extensions, Denmark and 
Iceland with 80 and 90 nautical miles respectively, the 
Soviet practice clearly is used to manipulate various 
freedoms of navigation, and, arguably to expand the waters 
available for CAB deployment. 

Within the confines of the proclaimed Soviet 
territorial seas lies the Northeast Passage; it has 
effectively been closed by the Soviet use of the baseline. 
The proclaimed territorial seas, combined with extensive 
year round ice, preclude passage by any surface ship without 
Soviet permission. 

The Soviets, having decreed the extent of their 
territorial seas, have a variety of legal to references to 
show compliance with both customary law and international 
conventions. Again Admiral Nazarenko spelled out this 
connection in 1983: 



14 This is also claimed as "Historic waters," covered 
separately. 

15 The Northeast Passage provides transit from the North 
Sea in European Soviet Union to the Chukchi Sea south to the 
Pacific Ocean and the Far Eastern Regions of the Soviet Union. 



68 



-t- - I T T 




l i l 



Internal Waters 



KAMCHAT 




PEN J N SU 



Source: "Limits of the Seas," No. 107, United 
States Department of State, 1987. 



Figure 1. Soviet Internal Waters 



69 



This document (1983 Supreme Soviet Decree} reflected 
generally recognized principles and standards of 
contemporary international maritime law, secured in the 
1982 UN Law of the Sea Convention signed by the Soviet 
Union on 10 December, 1982. 16 

This leads to the conclusion that the Soviet Union claims a 

12 mile limit, and that it considered this feature a 

"recognized principle," hence customary law. Such 

recognition is critical in determining what " rights and 

recognitions other countries render the Soviet Union in 

terms of honoring territorial waters. 

The breadth of the territorial sea was another issue 

that received great Soviet attention at both the Geneva and 

Jamaica conventions. The International Law Commission, the 

Soviets report, was of the opinion that "international law 

does not permit extension of the territorial sea beyond the 

twelve mile limit." 17 

In summary, it would appear that the Soviet Union 

fully intends to maintain a twelve mile territorial sea. In 

198 Major General of Jurisprudence P. Barabolya, the deputy 

of the Soviet delegation to UNCLOS III, wrote that; 

this draft [UNCLOS III] contains such extremely important 
questions of territorial waters. . .general agreement of all 
states has almost been reached with respect to 90% of the 



16 Nazarenko, "Legal Regime of Coastal Maritime Waters 
in the Law on the USSR State Border", Morskov Sbornik , July 
1983, p. 95. 

17 United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, 
Official Records, Appendix Vol. Ill, p. 209 [taken from 
Baraboyla, p. 56]. 



70 



provisions .. .the 12 mile limit, and the regime of 
territorial waters. 18 

3 . Historic Waters 

The issue of historic waters is one in which the 
difficulty of determining sovereignty becomes apparent. In 
buttressing their claims on various "historic" waters, 
Soviet writers frequently cite their historical control as 
precedent. "Precedent" is sufficiently ambiguous, however, 
for the Soviets to claim bodies of water that wash onto the 
shores of other states. 19 

A related Soviet claim concerns the concept of 
"closed seas." A closed sea is a body of water in which 
only states that border on it may navigate upon it. 20 The 
Baltic Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Black Sea, and the Sea 
of Japan have all been cited as candidates for "closed 
seas." Since the concept behind closing these bodies of 
water is based on historical precedent (and a claim to 
"internal waters" as defined by Soviet law) , the degree to 
which freedom of navigation is allowed is important. 21 



18 Barabolya, Ocean, Technology and Law , April 1980, p. 
70. 

19 The Sea of Okhotsk is often mentioned as "historic 
waters," despite periods of Japanese control, and occupation 
of Sakahalin Island. 

20 Alexander, "Navigational Restrictions Within the New 
LOS Context," p. 67. 

21 D.W. Given, "The Sea of Okhotsk: The USSR's Great 
Lake?", Proceedings . September, 1970, pp. 48-49. 



71 



The distinction between historic and closed waters 
is difficult, but both incorporate the exclusion of non- 
Soviet vessels from operating in or transiting through these 
areas. The Soviets recognize that historic waters are 
difficult to define. According to Baraboyla in 1972 "until 
recently it has not been possible to develop either in the 
theory or practice of international relations, a clear-cut 
conception of 'historic waters* and 'historic bays'." 22 
Today still, a workable and agreed upon definition escapes 
international jurists. It is the Soviet contention: 

In the doctrine as well as the practice of international 
law, it is recognized that States may, under certain 
circumstances, for historic reasons extend their 
sovereignty to certain waters which adjoin their 
seacoast. 23 

To the Soviets credit, they are cognizant of the 
problems in defining these "certain circumstances"; with the 
exception of what are internationally accepted as "historic 
bays," the Soviets seem to define historic waters merely as 
bodies of water they would prefer to keep non-Soviets out 
of. It is not surprising that Soviets have security 
concerns in the Kara and White Seas, claimed as historic 
waters, as well as in the Sea of Okhotsk. 

While carrying out a CAB strategy, the Soviet Navy 
would pursue every pre-hostility course of action to secure 



22 Baraboyla, Ocean. Technology and Law , p. 45 
23 Baraboyla, Ocean. Technology and Law , p. 47 



72 



their ballistic missile submarines in transit to these 

waters. Any pretense, however vague or ill-claimed, would 

be marshalled to try and keep potential foes out of 

sensitive security areas, and justify action against Western 

ASW units attempting to trail or otherwise localize Soviet 

SSBNs. The 1972 book, Ocean Technology and Law , closes its 

discussion of historic waters with the assertion that; 

Thus, despite distinct differences of opinion, the status 
of historic waters has much in common and is established, 
and even now permits us to pose the question of 
standardization of the concept of "historic waters" in the 
interests of peace and the security of peoples. 24 

Writing in July of 1983 Admiral Nazarenko pointed 

out that the use of force to eliminate naval violators is 

both justified and can be expected. The fact that the 

Soviets feel such incursions are occurring in peacetime is 

apparent when Nazarenko states: 

Violators of the USSR state border include foreign 
submarines. .. such actions are crude violations of the 
USSR's sovereignty and contradict generally recognized 
standards of conduct under international law. 25 

Whether or not there are submarines violating Soviet waters 

is not the question; what is significant is that the Soviets 

regard maritime boundaries as sacrosanct in time of peace 

and war. Only grudgingly do the Soviets accept that 

warships may transit their waters under innocent passage, a 

transit which must be in accordance with Soviet 



24 Baraboyla, Ocean Technology and Law , p. 53. 
25 Nazarenko, Morskoy Sbornik , July 1983, p. 99. 



73 



instructions, in clear defiance of international 
convention. 26 



C. POLITICAL ADVANTAGES OF A CAB STRATEGY 

Potential political advantages of a CAB strategy for the 
Soviet Union are several. Political advantages may be 
defined as those which further the interest of the Soviet 
Union in peacetime, or provide wartime advantage without 
military operations. These advantages include declaring 
unilateral ASW free zones in coastal areas, a posture which 
eliminates Soviet, [but not U.S.] SSBNs from the open ocean. 
This would provide the Soviet with an propaganda coup by 
being able to claim that no Soviet strategic nuclear weapons 
were deployed on submarines on the high seas. Also, while 
not exclusive to the CAB strategy, a decreasing dependence 
on Soviet SSBNs as a part of their nuclear forces (assuming 
the current shift to mobile ICBMs continues) allows for the 
Soviets to consider the SSBN fleet available for START 
treaty reduction. Alone, none of these advantages may seem 
significant, however, in aggregate, they add compelling 
weight to the case for the CAB strategy. 



26 The USS Yorktown and USS Caron foray into the Black 
Sea and the resultant ramming by the Soviet navy is 
indicative of Soviet dis-respect for freedom of passage. See 
W.E. Butler, "Innocent Passage and The 1982 Convention, The 
Influence of Soviet Law and Policy," The American Journal of 
International Law . April 1987, pp. 333-334, and Phillip 
Taubman, "Soviets Hope Provocation At Sea Won't Hurt Talks," 
New York Times February 14, p. 1 



74 



1. ASW Free Zones 

Arms Control treaties seem to take one of two 
general directions. First, they either limit the number and 
types of weapons deployed, or secondly they put limitations 
on where and how the weapons may be used. 27 In the case of 
the postulated CAB strategy both dimensions of the arms 
control equation come into play. 

Threatening the opponent's SSBNs with destruction is 
perceived, by some observers, as "de-stabilizing" and as 
risking unwanted escalation of (conventional) hostilities to 
the nuclear level. In order to minimize this danger, the 
creation of "ASW Free Zones" has been proposed. Broadly 
speaking, such zones would entail the exclusion of opposing 
ASW capabilities, from sea areas set aside as SSBN "sanctu- 
aries." This is the essence of the second element of arms 
control: weapons systems location. 

The establishment of mutually-agreed ASW Free Zones 
would be extremely beneficial for the Soviet Union. First, 
the Soviets would have a good idea where the West's SSBNs 
are located, an advantage they currently do not have. 28 
Secondly, Soviet general purpose forces would be freed 
entirely from the burden of providing "combat support" for 
their SSBN force. Lastly, the Soviets could economize on 



27 George Quester, Praeger Press, New York, NY, 1983, p. 
38. 

28 This makes the assumption that the West would place 
them in these zones, not necessarily a valid assumption. 



75 



their ASW forces, and capitalize on other naval mission 

areas. 

By adopting a CAB SSBN deployment strategy, the 

Soviets are able to take advantage of only one of these key 

advantages. The SSBNs would be located inside territorial 

waters, largely in Soviet internal waters. This is an 

important distinction. As James Tritten has noted: 

Another Soviet option is to deploy submarines in 
restricted waters, so for geographic, military, political 
and legal reasons, other nations would find it more 
difficult to conduct offensive antisubmarine warfare 
operations. 29 

Attacking an SSBN which is positioned in internal or 

territorial waters is a different proposition than attacking 

one on the high seas. The difference is analogous to the 

perceived threshold that separates a NATO decision to attack 

Soviet second echelon forces marshalling in Eastern Europe, 

from one to strike these same forces within the Soviet Union 

proper. From a practical military point of view, the 

decision whether to prosecute Soviet SSBNs on the high seas 

or in Soviet internal waters may seem artificial; the 

symbolic difference may be one that matters however. 

The CAB strategy would be, in effect, a unilateral 

declaration of an ASW free zone inside Soviet coastal 

waters. This does not necessarily guarantee against attack 

by Western forces. It certainly complicates it tactically 



29 James J. Tritten, "Scenarios of Nuclear Escalation 
Dominance and Vulnerability", Naval PostGraduate School 
Technical Report NPS-56-88-013 June 1988, p. 19. 



76 



as mentioned in Chapter III, but it also sends a political 
message regarding the inviolability of attacking strategic 
assets in the Soviet homeland. This may telegraph the 
degree to which the combatants are willing to go for 
favorable war termination. 30 Homeland attacks against 
portions of the Soviet strategic reserve are a clear message 
that the West is attempting to alter the nuclear correlation 
of forces. The additional protection this affords the 
Soviet SSBN fleet is an advantage easily won merely by 
locating the SSBNs where they will be less vulnerable and 
more easily controlled. 

2 . SSBN Force Level Reductions and the CAB Strategy 

Since there is a finite amount of coastline in which 
to hide the Soviet SSBN force, a reduced number of SSBNs 
increases both the difficulty, and the payoff to the 
attacker of detection. On balance, however, fewer SSBNs 
strengthen the advantage of the CAB strategy. Those 
advantages are threefold: First, having to conceal fewer 
SSBNs means that more vacant CAB positions can be used to 
try and lure Western naval forces into ambush. Secondly, as 
a shift from sea-based nuclear reserve forces to land-based 
assets (road and rail mobile SS-24s and SS-25s) occurs, the 
absolute costs of each deliverable warhead in the strategic 
reserve decreases. Accordingly, the amount required to 



30 Tritten, "Scenarios of Nuclear Escalation Dominance 
and Vulnerability," p. 19. 



77 



provide a CAB defense also decrease, and provides more 
general purpose forces for other missions. Lastly, and, 
admittedly, least likely, would be the emergent reguirement 
to provide protection of Western SSBNs from Soviet naval 
forces. Strategic anti-SSBN ASW by a Soviet fleet which has 
fewer SSBNs to protect could lead to a Western pro-SSBN 
mission. While some of these advantages could only come 
about with reduction in both Western (primarily U.S.) and 
Soviet SSBNs, others do not reguire Western "cooperation." 

For instance, as the absolute number of U.S. SSBNs 
deer eases, each unit grows in relative importance in terms 
of percentage of secure reserve warheads held. With the 
total Trident force held to a lower number (perhaps 18-20) , 
the Soviets would gladly accept a reduction in their own 
number of SSBNs. 31 This would result in a net gain for the 
Soviets in terms of land based nuclear warheads which they 
could target effectively. This would be advantageous in 
terms of the CAB, simply because it reguired less effort to 
conduct pro-SSBN operations, and placed greater emphasis on 
anti-SSBN operations. 
3 . Conclusions 

In either case, there is very little to commend in 
the CAB for the West in terms of future START treaties. The 
SSBN force of the West should not be reduced or compromised 



3 Barnes L. George, "The Two Track Dilemma in the START 
Negotiations," Strategic Review . Vol. XVI, Winter 1988, pp. 
40, 43. 



78 



in any fashion merely to reduce Soviet SSBN holdings. 
Soviet SSBNs, in or out of a CAB scheme, do not play the 
same central role in the secure strategic reserve as do 
SSBNs of the West. Diversity in Soviet strategic reserves 
mitigates against a head to head SSBN comparison. 

Currently the Soviets would find all the advantages 
in a CAB strategy they would hold given a Western commitment 
to ASW free zones. In the event the West committed to 
maintaining some type of mutual area reserved for each 
side's respective SSBNs, the Soviets would have won a major 
coup. This would expose the West's SSBN force to precisely 
the type of attack the Soviets would perhaps consider given 
the current relative nuclear arsenal imbalance: nuclear 
barrage. 

In any case ASW Free Zones or designated SSBN Patrol 
Areas clearly simplifies the Soviet ASW problem. Given the 
asymmetry in the Soviet and Western ASW capabilities, the 
ASW Free Zone type concept would provide a simplification 
they would otherwise not be available to the Soviets in the 
near term due to a lack of open ocean search sensors. 



79 



V. DISADVANTAGES OF THE CAB POSTURE 

A. INTRODUCTION 

The drawbacks to any particular military strategy can 
never be fully identified prior to wartime implementation. 
In the case of the CAB strategy it is speculative as to what 
degree this concept would or could be operationalized (as 
would be any projected Soviet deployment posture) . In order 
to fully ascertain the utility of the CAB strategy, issues 
that would mitigate against the CAB posture must be 
examined. This analysis problem can be addressed via 
careful scrutiny of perceived Soviet intentions, equipment 
capabilities and Soviet perceptions of Western equipment and 
intentions. The laboratory environment available to examine 
the CAB strategy is one dimensional inasmuch as the Soviets 
are not apt to provide detailed operating agendas for their 
SSBN fleet. Despite this lack of perfect knowledge 
regarding actual Soviet plans, an evaluation must be done 
considering four feasible scenarios. By examining these 
scenarios, potential shortcomings of the CAB strategy may 
become evident. 

It is the purpose of this section to examine various 
potential shortcomings, vulnerabilities, risks, etc., in the 
CAB strategy for the Soviet Union. In so doing it will 
become obvious that the disadvantages are primarily a 



80 



function of "worst case" scenarios for the Soviet Union. 

The worst case is defined as one in that a nuclear exchange 

has occurred which the Soviets did not initiate. This worst 

case ultimately results in large number of intercontinental 

strikes impacting on Soviet territory. 1 In making the 

assumption that only a given number of general wartime 

scenarios are relevant, the following sub-sections outline 

problems that might arise from a CAB strategy. 

1. Short War Scenarios with Initial Conventional 
Weapons 

In the war scenario that the Soviets would prefer to 

fight, the so-called conventional option, the possible 

disadvantages to the CAB strategy lie primarily with the 

danger of vertical escalation. 2 That is, SSBNs in a CAB 

posture would be limited to a degree in their ability to 

escalate quickly, losing the short warning time available to 

forward deployed SSBNs. In the event the use of SLBMs was 

mandated, the disadvantage of lost short warning time might 

be eliminated by more rapid delivery of release authority. 



1 S. Shapiro, "Report on Annual ONI Symposium at 
Annapolis", August 24 1981, p. 5. "The Soviets were doing 
quite well without war [nuclear] and obviously prefer to 
keep it that way." 

2 McConnell, James, CNA Report No. 82-1885, Alexandria, 
Virginia, 1982, p. 2. 



81 



The CAB strategy in a war fought totally conventionally 
would generate few problems of import. 3 

The short war scenario, which would have the Soviets 
seizing much of Western Europe by way of a "blitzkrieg," 
would require the quick collapse of NATO defenses. The 
specter of a quick Soviet victory may, however, trigger the 
very use of nuclear weapons that the Soviet wish to avoid. 
NATO might decide on first use in order to avoid defeat; 
Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO) incentive would be to pre- 
empt NATO first use. In either case, the CAB strategy could 
be disadvantageous in the following ways. First, NATO 
resort to tactical nuclear weapons to attack the CAB 
positions inside Soviet territorial seas would entail 
horizontal and vertical escalation the Soviets prefer to 
avoid. Next, CAB defenses, however well-planned, could fail 
so that the Soviet Union could lose enough SSBNs to be 
forced with a highly unfavorable "correlation of forces." 
In both these areas, the CAB posture could create some 
problems as discussed below. This would require that the 
West overcome the very significant defenses and tactical 
problems presented in CAB defense. 



^Obviously, the Soviets would have no way of guarantee- 
ing themselves that they could keep a war "conventional," 
given NATO's intentions to use nuclear weapons. NATO 
declatory policy [and U.S. policy] is that nuclear weapons 
will be used to defend Western Europe. Linkage to a 
strategic exchange is provided by Jeffrey Record in NATO ' s 
Theater Nuclear Force , Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis 
Inc. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1981, p. 18. Warfare is, in 
aggregate, a "crapshoot." 



82 



The use of nuclear weapons after a conventional 
phase of combat would be escalatory in a vertical sense due 
to the crossing of the conventional weapons threshold. In a 
horizontal sense, the use of nuclear weapons to attack a CAB 
position represents an important escalatory step since the 
targets would effectively be located on Soviet sovereign 
territory. Clearly, the Soviets do not want to be on the 
receiving end of even one nuclear weapon. The implications 
for further escalation are obvious. 4 The use of even one 
nuclear weapon against the WTO forces the Soviets to make a 
decision they would have preferred not make. Namely, the 
decision of when to respond, where, and how. In considering 
a conventional scenario, it can be assumed the Soviets have 
opted not to use nuclear weapons only because it was not to 
their advantage to do so. Since CAB positioned SSBNs are 
immune from most conventional threats, the introduction of 
nuclear weapons endangers their survival. 

A shortcoming of the CAB posture as noted earlier is 
the point raised by Breemer; locating the SSBNs in a 
restricted area solves the most difficult ASW problem, 
initial locating information. In a CAB deployment scheme 
the SSBNs would be in waters where Western ASW forces could 



4 For instance, if the first use of nuclear weapons was 
by NATO against second echelon Soviet forces in non-Soviet 
Eastern Europe, a WTO/Soviet use against NATO forces at sea 
might place some pressure to use nuclear weapons to attack a 
known (but unassailable with conventional weapons) CAB 
positioned SSBN. Voila, this attack on Soviet territory 
might require symbolic matching, perhaps a U.S. shipyard, etc. 



83 



make an attempt, using conventional weapons, however 
difficult, to attrite them. The impact of this potential 
attrition could have serious implications for the Soviets 
perceived "correlation of nuclear forces." The current view 
is held by the U.S. Navy that the attrition of these forces 
is not likely to escalate an otherwise conventional conflict 
to nuclear levels. 5 

The conventional means to attrite the SSBNs in CAB 
positions available to Western forces are not impressive. 
Destruction of SSBNs could be accomplished conventionally 
via the standard arsenal of ASW weapons. Since these 
weapons must be delivered to within close proximity of the 
intended target, CAB defenses should be able to greatly 
exacerbate this problem. Table 12 outlines characteristics 
of several conventional ASW weapons. 

One further conventional weapon does present a 
problem for the CAB-protected SSBN. Currently under 
development, the Submarine Launched Mobile Mine (SLMM) could 
penetrate heavily protected coastal waters. The mine 
consists of a specially adapted Mk-37 torpedo which would 
propel itself away from its delivery platform and go to a 



5 Ronald O'Rourke, "Nuclear Escalation, Strategic Anti- 
submarine Warfare and the Navy's Forward Maritime Strategy," 
Congressional Research Service, Report No. 87-138F, February 
27, 1987, pp. 40-42. The possibility of escalation is the 
main concern of those who fear attriting the SSBNs. This is 
not a valid argument, as the Soviets do not discuss the 
requirement to "use or lose" SSBN forces. Clearly, however, 
SSBNs positioned in CAB positions would be victims of a very 
unambiguous attack. 



84 



TABLE 12 
CONVENTIONAL U.S. NAVY ASW WEAPONS 



Type 


Speed 
(pursuit of target) 


Range 


Warhead 
Size 


MK-46 


45 knots 


9 km 


45 kg 


MK-48 


50+ knots 


46 km 


2 67 kg 


Source: 


Jane's Fighting Ships 


1986-87. p. 


198. 



predetermined position and await a suitable target. This 
weapon would be ideal to attack a CAB positioned SSBN. 6 By- 
inserting these SLMMs into possible CAB waters, the West 
could gain several advantages. First, and obviously, a 
Soviet SSBN could be destroyed. Secondly, if discovered, a 
major minesweeping effort would have to be undertaken, and 
may serve to expose exactly where the Soviet SSBNs were, and 
lastly, it might divert additional general purpose naval 
forces to either counter the threat, or clear the 
minefields. 

2 . Prolonged Conventional War 

Historically military planners have preferred "short 
wars" contingency plans. This makes planning politically 
palatable, fiscally reasonable and most importantly, 
tactically and strategically very difficult. While the 
United States maintains (ostensibly) the capability to 
mobilize for a three year global war, the Soviets speak of 



6 Stefanick, Strategic Antisubmarine Warfare , p. 169. 



85 



the possibility of a prolonged conventional war lasting 
several years. 7 Prolonged conventional war could pose 
several problems or the CAB strategy. First, the longer the 
fighting goes on the greater the possibility of the West 
discovering the precise locations of the CABs themselves. 
Second, SSBN attrition via conventional weapons may create a 
problem in terms of the strategic reserve. 8 Third, and 
most apt to be exacerbated by the first two, is the 
increased difficulty of maintaining SSBN logistical support 
during a war that lasts many months, perhaps several years. 

The primary weakness of the CAB strategy is that, as 
a function of time, the West will learn where the CAB 
positions are and attempt to assault them. The ability of 
the Soviet navy to protect their SSBNs within the coastal 
waters will degrade with time as various Western 
intelligence sources marshal their assets for SSBN 
detection. Once the CABs are identified a concerted effort 
could be made to assault the SSBNs. 

A long conventional war would place great demands on 
the Soviet coastal "pro-cab" forces. The required upkeep of 



7 N.V. Ogarkov, Always in Readiness to Defend the 
Homeland , Foreign Broadcast Information Service, JPRS 
L/10412, 15 March 1982. This entire piece is dedicated to 
stressing the importance of being able to mobilize the 
nation for a long war. Also, "The National Defense 
Stockpile Report to Congress," Washington, D.C., August, 
1988, p. 20 regarding U.S. mobilization capabilities and 
intentions. 

8 This type of escalation is highly unlikely, "The 
National Defense Stockpile Report to Congress," p. 70. 



86 



coastal units protecting the SSBN fleet would be extremely 
difficult, exacerbated by the need to maintain some empty 
CABs for deception and contingency purposes. This problem 
is important, and would further assist the West in 
determining the actual positions of the CAB positioned 
SSBNs. 

One clue to probing Western intelligence services 
would be the logistic replenishment of SSBNs. Assuming that 
the Yankees and Deltas patrol a notional 70 days and 
assuming they were "flushed" to CAB positions prior to the 
onset of hostilities, they would need to replenish stocks of 
consumables before the war was 90 days old. While deceptive 
measures could be undertaken to confuse the West, it would 
be extremely difficult to continue this for extended periods 
of time. As the war dragged into months (years?) the West 
would be able to narrow down the number of likely CAB 
positions. This might invite a barrage attack, or a 
conventional weapon attack of greater effectiveness. 

As noted earlier, the longer the war lasts the 
greater the opportunity the West has to alter the size and 
composition of the Soviet strategic reserve. While the 
SSBNs do not compose the entire strategic reserve, a major 
reduction in numbers of warheads could impact the total 
capability of the Soviet strategic reserve. 

While a prolonged conventional war is not as 
beneficial to the Soviets as a shorter war, the CAB posture 



87 



still holds many advantages to the Soviets, if they opted to 
employ their navy in operations optimized to undermine the 
West's superior industrial potential, i.e., SLOC 
interdiction. 

3 . Short Nuclear War 

Most scenarios hold that the initiation of 
hostilities will probably be the culmination of increasing 
tensions and strategic warning. 9 While both sides may in 
fact dread the "bolt from the blue scenario," it is least 
likely. 

A short nuclear war could take many forms. For one, 
immediate capitulation by one side after initial use, either 
tactically in Europe or by use of intercontinental weapons 
is conceivable. A short nuclear war could involve a massive 
exchange in which war termination would result less from 
victory in the classical sense, than from the elimination of 
many critical C 3 I functions of both combatants or 
exhaustion/destruction of all nuclear assets. In all cases 
however, the problems with the CAB strategy lie primarily in 
the following forms. 

First, the ability to serve as a strategic reserve 
could be severely degraded by counterbattery fire from 
hostile forces. While the difficulty (indeed, impracticali- 
ty) of nuclear counterbattery fire was earlier noted in 



9 Ashton B. Carter, Managing; Nuclear Operations , 
Brookings Institute Press, Washington, D.C., 1987, pp. 78, 
81. 



88 



Chapter III, the possibility of narrowing down the locations 
of the CAB well enough to attack these positions with a 
reasonable number of weapons would be a problem for Soviet 
strategists. Second, a short nuclear exchange might place a 
premium on a debilitating first strike to destroy C 3 I and 
leadership. In this case, CAB deployment would forfeit the 
advantage of forward deployed SSBNs and their ability to 
deliver short warning attacks would be lost. Being able to 
launch a depressed trajectory shot with a warning time of 
less than ten minutes would be critical in a war that the 
Soviets intended to start and finish with nuclear weapons. 
Lastly, the issue of defense of ballistic missiles via some 
type of Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) generated weapons 
system must be considered. Since by definition the CAB 
strategy would place all the SSBNs within Soviet territorial 
waters, the ambiguity of azimuth problems for an SDI system 
would be resolved. This would likely be more important in a 
brief, limited exchange because, although an SDI ABM system 
would be an important target for early strikes, the 
lethality of the defensive system might require a larger 
strike force to be launched to ensure obtaining the required 
results. 

The ability of the West to localize the possible 
positions of Soviet SSBNs within their coastal positions 
might leave them open to an attack. While attacking all 
potential CAB positions is not practicable, attacking 



89 



perhaps even 200 positions with nuclear weapons could 
provide great strategic leverage. There are several factors 
to support this. First, some of the 4 50 Minuteman III 
missiles that still retain the large one-megaton warhead 
could be utilized for this purpose. Second, the CAB 
positions themselves would most likely be located in 
relatively sparsely populated areas along the coast. 
Lastly, in terms of strategic exchange, depleting even all 
450 Minuteman II missiles in this role is a veritable 
bargain, when it is considered that all Soviet SLBMs would 
be destroyed in exchange. Table 13 outlines the 
requirements for such a barrage. 

TABLE 13 
MINIMUM EMT REQUIREMENTS TO BARRAGE SOVIET SSBNS 10 
62 (number of SSBNs) x pi (10nm) 2 = 19,468nm 2 
19,468nm 2 /51nm 2 = 382 aimpoints 

382 aimpoints x 1.35 (target error) = 515.3 EMT 
(assumes SSBNs located within a 10 nm radius circle) 



Source: Strategic Anti-Submarine and Naval Strategy , 
p. 37. 



For any of this type of targeting to take place, 
however, there must be a high degree of confidence in the 
actual deployment sites of the SSBNs. As noted in Chapter 



10 Carter, Managing Nuclear Operations , p. 38. 



90 



Ill, the ICBMs of the United States are weapons not quickly 
replaceable in time of war. In a short nuclear war this 
problem would be insignificant, but could become important 
in a protracted conflict. By positioning SSBNs in forward 
stations the Soviets maintain the ability to execute an 
attack which could disrupt the U.S. ability to respond 
effectively. 11 Traditionally assumed to be the Yankee class 
charged with this mission, an initial strike would degrade 
the ability of U.S. intelligence organizations to 
effectively track down CAB positions. To engage in this 
type of strike, some SSBNs would obviously not be in CAB 
positions. Not deploying these forward Yankee class units 
prior to the onset of hostilities might give indications of 
intentions to fight a conventional war. 

In the event a war did ultimately evolve into a 
nuclear exchange at the Soviets choice, some advantages 
would be lost. Increased tactical warning time for the 
United States Ballistic Missile Warning System could be 
significant in allowing the United States to respond with a 
retaliatory attack. 12 In any case, the cost for the Soviets 
in employing a CAB strategy is felt in a war only in which 
the Soviets opted not to utilize nuclear weapons initially, 



11 Ashton B. Carter, Managing Nuclear Operations , 
Brookings Institute, Washington, D.C., 1987, p. 579. Carter 
describes a nuclear strike against the metropolitan 
Washington, D.C. area, an example of a de-capitating strike. 

12 Carter, Managing Nuclear Operations , pp. 298-299. 



91 



and to find then find that forward deployed SLBMs were 
required to meet emergent requirements. 

If the Soviets opted to launch a surprise nuclear 
attack, then the majority of their SSBN fleet could be 
positioned in CAB stations. Meanwhile, whatever number of 
SSBNs were required to execute the initial strikes could be 
forward-deployed. In this way, benefits of both the 
strategies could be reaped. However, since the current 
Soviet posture seems to be one which favors the conventional 
option, this would stand as a net disadvantage to the CAB 
theory. 

4 . Protracted Nuclear War 

A protracted nuclear war can be defined as one in 
which an intercontinental exchange takes place over a period 
of time that lasts over weeks and months vice days and 
hours. This is an important distinction. If the Soviets 
have deployed their SSBNs in a CAB posture and intend to 
fight a protracted nuclear war they will be disadvantaged as 
noted in the preceding sections. However, this would not be 
the only problem encountered by the Soviets during a 
protracted nuclear war. The other potential problems unique 
to the CAB strategy in this scenario is the risk of 
detectability-at-launch. 

This risk of enemy counter-detection in the wake of 
a single-SLBM salvoes can become very serious for three 
reasons. First, the SSBN may betray its position, thus 



92 



inviting a counterstike. This is particularly significant 
in the CAB, because, unlike open ocean operations, the SSBN 
cannot run very far before abandoning its CAB protection. 
In an open ocean environment, on the other hand, the SSBN 
might be able to outrun the lethal effects of a nuclear 
counterbattery fire. 13 

Secondly, in firing only one missile tlie SSBN has 
given any reasonably close Western ASW assets precise 
targeting information to ensure a high probability of an 
immediate retaliatory attack. For instance, a Western SSN 
loitering outside the limits of the CAB might detect the 
SLBM launch and be able to attack with a tactical nuclear 
[or even conventional] weapons. Currently the Submarine 
Launched Anti-submarine Rocket (SUBROC) has this capability 
to attack from a standoff position. Finally, an SSBN 
confined to CAB waters may not be able to be used 
effectively in a protracted conflict due to limitations on 
the missile system. Range constraints would limit the SS-N- 
6 to other than intercontinental strikes. The tradeoff 
between distance-from-target (and reduced warning time) , and 
protection from the CAB would severely hamper the degree of 
flexibility available to the Yankee class SSBN. 



13 Assume a Soviet SSBN fires one SLBM then departs 
datum at 25 knots. If the missile is detected simultaneous- 
ly, and it takes 4 minutes to retarget an ICBM, and 2 5 more 
minutes to arrive, then the SSBN could be anywhere within 490 
square miles. 



93 



B. POLITICAL DISADVANTAGES OF THE CAB 

As mentioned earlier, the concept of the "ASW free zone" 
is a double-edged sword. On the other hand, an ASW free 
zone would afford the noisier and more vulnerable Soviet 
SSBNs "legal" protection against Western forces. Converse- 
ly, assuming the United States was treaty-bound to maintain 
its SSBN assets in ASW free zones, this would greatly 
simplify the Soviet problems in pursuing U.S. SSBNs in 
wartime, considering the lack of open ocean Soviet search 
capability. The U.S. disperses its SSBN force over the 
oceans in their entirety to take advantage of their extreme 
covert capability, it would be motivated to cheat on the 
restriction to confine SSBNs to specific waters. With this 
U.S. advantage in cheating in peacetime by continuing 
dispersal of SSBNs, and the advantages of both sides of 
cheating in wartime, the utility of any ASW free zone is 
nil. While the Soviets may extol such measures as 
stabilizing and furthering peace, the disadvantages to the 
West, and eventually to the Soviets outweigh any possible 
gains. 

C. CONCLUSIONS 

In summary, the CAB strategy is of little use to the 
Soviet Union in waging a war in which it intends to use 
nuclear weapons in the initial stages. Further, in a war 
which develops into a limited exchange, the CABs provide 
several disadvantages which could be significant. Clearly, 

94 



the CAB strategy is not a strategy optimized for the Soviets 
to initiate nuclear war involving SLBMs. 

If the Soviet Union is willing to consider a disarming 
first strike against U.S. strategic forces, the CAB strategy 
will serious impede them from successful execution of this 
task. Additionally, the use of the CAB might invite the 
United States to consider a nuclear barrage (given it had 
adequate locating data on the Soviet SSBN force) , escalation 
that would by definition involve nuclear weapons detonating 
on Soviet internal waters. This is a very serious 
shortcoming of the CAB strategy. 

The disadvantages of the CAB are by and large problems 
which would arise in a nuclear war. A shift in Soviet 
policy back toward a primarily nuclear option would make the 
CAB strategy less attractive. However, since the current 
consensus is that the Soviets would, for the time being, 
prefer the conventional option, the CAB does present 
advantages optimized for conventional war. 



95 



VI. CONCLUSIONS 

A. SUMMARY 

An examination of possible Soviet military strategies 
must include analysis of capabilities and intentions. This 
can only be done via examination of Soviet weapons systems 
and Soviet military literature. Matching these two 
components together, in light of the possible political- 
military goals of the Soviet Union, can shed some light on 
the way in which the SSBN fleet will be used. As noted 
earlier in Chapter III, the Soviets currently view the 
conventional option as the primary option in waging war with 
the West. With this in mind several further conclusions can 
be drawn. 

First, the Soviets face a choice of basic strategies, 
and the incumbent constraints each strategic choice 
automatically entails. To plan to fight conventionally 
first is by definition to not optimize for nuclear warfare. 
Clearly, thought must be given to the implications of any 
strategy on nuclear warfighting capability. Some 
degradation in overall capability may be acceptable, given 
that it can maximize overall success for the war being 
planned. Since even in a degraded mode the Soviet's nuclear 
components are quite capable of fighting and serving as a 
strategic reserve, in order to increase chances for 



96 



conventional victory the Soviets may accept the minimal 
degradation inherent in a CAB strategy. Whether they would 
or would not is not the question. The fact is there is very 
little to support the Soviets executing any strategy at sea, 
short of that which supports the battle ashore. 

Secondly, the entire CAB concept would be less plausible 
had it not been found in Soviet literature. Therefore, it 
is important to consider carefully the various aspects of a 
CAB strategy as they appear in Soviet literature. Soviet 
keying on the ease of command, control and communications 
and the importance of limiting wear and tear on equipment 
are important considerations that bear serious 
consideration. Of course, in Soviet literature, as in 
either the Old or New Testament, almost any contention can 
find a supporting quotation. So it is with the CAB. The 
Soviets say precious little specifically regarding their 
SSBN force. However, the Soviets are seemingly given to 
comment on Western navies, using these navies as a surrogate 
for their own problems and ideas. Accordingly, the Soviet 
professional naval journal, Morskov Sbornik , does discuss 
various U.S. SSBN programs and their possible deployment 
schemes. It has never been the plan to shepherd U.S. SSBNs 
into coastal waters, yet the Soviets point out the 
advantages in so doing. Again, very little has been said by 
the Soviets themselves regarding SSBN operations and 



97 



capabilities; these issue are only discussed in third party 
analogies. 

Lastly, the problem of hardware must be reviewed. Since 
equipment can only act within its design limits, its range 
of capabilities are more clearly defined. In terms of the 
CAB, missile range and overall submarine quieting are the 
two key issues that drive SSBN strategy. Soviet submarines 
possess SLBMs of significant range, while emitting noise 
levels which make them relatively vulnerable vis a vis their 
Western counterparts. Thus, some reconciliation must be 
made in terms of survivable operations. In a posture 
optimized for a conventional war, the CAB takes advantage of 
Soviet SSBN strengths and covers for their weaknesses. 

This issue of reconciliation with respect to the 
composition of the Soviet fleet and the minimal credit it is 
given for forward operations is further resolved by the CAB 
strategy. This large fleet has capabilities which would be 
a diseconomy, indeed counterproductive, in a force not 
intended to undertake offensive missions. 

In terms of warfighting utility it is myopic and overly 
hopeful to assume away the primary maritime problem of 
fighting a conventional war, maintaining the SLOCS open for 
resupply. If the primary theater of potential warfare 
continues to be Western Europe, the successful interdiction 
of the SLOCs would be disastrous for the West. If the 
Soviets were willing to hazard [and hazard only to a very 



98 



small degree] their SSBN force via the CAB strategy, the 
Soviet navy could play the only role the Soviet army would 
have it play: disrupt the movement of men and munitions to 
Western Europe. As noted earlier, this does not have to be 
done extremely well to be effective. 

Further research may disclose other data to either 
support or refute the CAB strategy. Clearly, any 
information which lends support to the bastion theory 
supports peripherally the CAB strategy. Continued Soviet 
deployment of massive numbers of coastal vessels, and naval 
exercises which support forward operations are evidence of 
the Soviet intention to use their navy for more traditional 
tasks. 

In closing it seems prudent to repeat Winston 
Churchill's assertion that the Soviet Union is an enigma, 
wrapped in puzzle inside a riddle. No one answer will 
suffice to meet every parameter of the Soviet navy. The CAB 
is an attempt to logically employ the navy the Soviets have 
built within the strategy they seem to espouse. Two things 
are obvious. First, the CAB strategy can only be proven by 
force of arms, Second, proving or disproving a pre-war 
theory is of utility only in the deterring of war via 
correct prediction of the potential enemies intentions and 
planning accordingly. Napoleon Bonaparte once offered that 
"the ridiculous is one step from the sublime." Perhaps he 
was right. 



99 



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104 



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22. National Security Council 
Attn: CAPT Linton Brooks, USN 

Room 386, Old Executive Office Building 
17 Pennsylvania Avenue 
Washington, D.C. 20005 

23. Director, Net Assessment 

Office of the Secretary of Defense 
The Pentagon — 3A930 
Washington, D.C. 20301 

24. Director of Naval Intelligence (OP-009) 
Office of the CNO 

The Pentagon — 5C600 
Washington, D.C. 20350 

25. CAPT Peter Schwartz, USN 
US NATO/DoD Box 102 

APO New York, 09667-5028 

26. CAPT John L. Byron, USN 

Training Systems Branch Head (SP-15) 
Department of the Navy 
Washington, D.C. 20376-5002 

27. Michael Rich 

Vice President, National Defense Research 

Institute 

RAND Corporation 

1700 Main Street 

P.O. Box 2138 

Santa Monica, California 90466-2130 

28. CAPT Jerome J. Burke, Jr., USN 
Speechwriter for the Secretary of Defense 
The Pentagon — 3D853 

Washington, D.C. 20301 



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